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London & Partners welcomes Brexit enquiry boom

41 per cent jump in enquiries in capital since EU referendum result, thanks in part to weaker pound

London & Partners has experienced a major increase in enquiries this summer following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Between June and September this year, London’s convention bureau received a 41 per cent jump in enquiries compared to the same period last year.

This rise is reflected across all markets, with US enquiries going up 22 per cent over the period, EMEA enquiries also rising 22 per cent and domestic enquiries jumping up by 83 per cent.

A number of suppliers, including ExCeL London, Maybourne Hotel Group and InterContinental London – The O2, have also experienced an increase in enquiries and some overseas planners have been requesting to settle the cost of their events upfront due the fall in the value of the pound following the referendum results.

Deborah Kelly, business development manager UK at London & Partners, said: “The capital is one of the world’s leading destinations for business events and the results of the UK’s EU referendum will not change this. London is a leading centre for sectors such as tech, life sciences, finance and the creative industries and the city is, and will remain, open for business.”

James Rees, executive director at ExCeL London, said it has been business as usual since the referendum. 

“In the short term, the weaker pound has been positive for our North American clients, a number of whom have called us to arrange early payments for their events in order to take advantage of the preferential exchange rate,” he said. “While we do not yet know what sort of deal the UK will secure from the EU, we have been pleased at how both the Mayor of London and the UK government have responded to the vote and moved quickly to reinforce a message that the UK remains open for business.”

Brona Kelly, director of sales and marketing at Maybourne Hotel Group, said that the group’s three hotels had been particularly busy following the vote. 

She said: “We have seen a specific increase in suite business from the North American market, which is no doubt due to the slight dip in sterling allowing US travellers to receive more for their dollar during their visit to London. Regarding MICE business, we have also seen a demand with clients preferring to pre pay for their event booking in order to lock in competitive exchange rates.”

London’s improvement in value for money has also had an impact on destination management company Spectra’s summer activity, according to MD Paul Miller.

He said: “Following the result of the referendum we received an unprecedented surge of new enquiries, both from outside and inside the EU, for sizeable conferences and meetings for later this year and early 2017. Thanks to the exchange rate going down, clients have also been willing to pay more substantial deposits.”

Rob Russell, owner of AC Tours DMC, said that his firm had also benefitted from the exchange rate.

“Immediately after the referendum, we saw a desire to prepay for forthcoming events to make the most of the decreasing value of the UK currency,” he said. “Subsequent business levels have certainly increased from international visitors and we are going into the winter season seeing an increasing number of large group requests with very short lead in times. We recently had an event for a group of 100 people book and travel within a window of 10 days.”

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