London & Partners, the capital’s new flagship tourism agency, will aim to position London as “the world’s meeting place”, according to interim chair, Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas.
Speaking at the launch of the new organisation, she said: “We will focus on valuable business tourism and events ensuring that London is the leading destination for major sporting events, meetings and conferences. We will position London as the world’s meeting place.”
She added that the CEO of London’s international convention centre, ExCeL, was on the board and that it would become one of the great conference centres of the World.
Mayor Boris Johnson said: “ExCeL is part of the vision we have for the Royal Docks; one of the new enterprise zones. There will be advantages for businesses to locate there.”
London & Partners brings together three of the capital’s key promotional agencies – Visit London, Think London and Study London, which were previously responsible for attracting tourism, inward investment and international students. The funding for the new agency has been confirmed as an average of £14m per annum over
the four-year spending review period, which represents a £3.35m decrease
on the amount the three bodies received this year (Visit London's
budget was £11.7m in 2010/11). However, dame Judith said the consolidated organisation would allow the London brand to be promoted in a “more coherent and joined up way” and enable them to work in partnership with the private sector.
Grant Hearn, executive chairman of Travelodge and board member of London & Partners, said the tourism industry was relieved to have the new agency in place.
“I’d like to thank the mayor for rescuing it at a stage where we may not have an agency at all due to the budget cuts. I’m really excited about this new organisation. A single agency gives us that one strong voice and one point of contact for commercial partners to engage with.”
London & Partners will be led by interim chair Jonas and interim CEO Danny Lopez. Other board members include Jean-Louis Bravard, director of financial company Burnt Oak Partners, and Mike Thompson, senior vice president of commercial strategy at Glaxo SmithKline. More key appointments will be announced following a consultation period, which starts on Monday.
Pictured: Mayor Boris Johnson