A city with it all

London is ever changing, and since winning the bid to host the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games there has been an even greater buzz around the city.
    
New hotels are being built, businesses are developing, new venues are being designed and more transport links are being created. The city is thriving and there has never been a better time to come to London to do business.
    
London attracts hundred’s of business trips every year and in 2007 business visitors spent a record £3 billion in the capital.
    
In 2007/08 Visit London dealt with over 886 business events enquiries, and confirmed over £115million worth of business economic benefit to the capital.
    
David Hornby, commercial director for Visit London says: “When conference organisers choose London they are choosing a world-class city that delivers on experience and on value for money, offering unique and unusual venues. The choice you get in London is unsurpassed, nowhere else can you find this mix of leading venues, hospitality, culture, high-quality service and events knowledge – we really are ticking all the boxes.”

Leading events destination

London is a city that has been built on centuries of international trade. Today, it remains a global media and business capital where the majority of large international companies already have a presence, making London an obvious choice for any key business event.
    
London’s strength is its world-class variety. More than 50 major international communities have made London their home. You might hear more than 300 different languages spoken in the capital.
    
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson recently voiced his support for London as a business capital by saying: “I truly believe that London is the world’s greatest city to do business in. The business tourism market is an incredibly important one, as it helps drive international business into our economy and in turn means that London is able to carry on investing in our business offer and services for the future.”
    
He added: “London offers a range of excellent venues and facilities, plus great international links and the added bonus of some of the best cultural and social activities in the world, making it very attractive to the business traveller.”

Value London
With so much choice, London is able to stretch to any budget. If money’s tight, let the Visit London experts advise you on ways to reduce costs without compromising on quality. There are many cost-saving options available including various accommodation types and tax reclaim opportunities. A number of activities are free – including the major museums and art galleries, not to mention London’s many famous street markets.
    
Thomas Cook, Visit London’s official Foreign Exchange partner, also offers over 12 participating stores where delegates can change currency commission free and pick up an exclusive information booklet which contains money-saving vouchers on some of London's most popular attractions.

Accessible city
London is one of the most accessible cities on the planet. Five international airports handle a steady stream of flights and have fast, direct train services linking them to the city centre.   
    
Eurostar’s stunning new terminal at St Pancras International in the very heart of the capital means you can be breakfasting in Paris and in less than 2h 15 minutes you can be enjoying lunch in the centre of London. The new Eurostar links mean you are also less than two hours away when travelling from/via Brussels.
    
Travelling around London is easy too with the Oyster travel card being one of the most popular. As well as being more environmentally friendly the Oyster card gives a cost-effective way of travelling around London in a hassle free and enjoyable way.
    
Another way of traveling around London but combining it with sightseeing is a trip on London’s Silver Fleet. With three luxury vessels and over 60 years' experience in hosting events, the boats make a perfect and memorable option for large groups or corporate events. Delegates are able to relax and enjoy the iconic views of London whilst traveling in style.

Vast range of accommodation
London is a city that is able to offer a vast array of accommodation to suit any size of group. From the uber cool and luxurious, to decadent and historical hotels that have been welcoming celebrities and Royalty for many years; from stylish and quirky hotels with an English boutique-air about them, to the state-of-the-art, London’s hotels are able to combine luxurious accommodation with contemporary meeting and conference spaces.
    
One of London’s most spacious and well-designed chains is Radisson Edwardian, whose properties can be found throughout London. Each hotel boasts ergonomically designed bedrooms with state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen technology, high-speed wireless and Wi-Fi.
    
There are also a number of key hotels that are able to offer very reasonable London rates without having to compromise on stylish interiors or quality service – brands such as Premier Inn and Travelodge have a range of hotels across the capital.
    
One of London’s strengths is its’ world-class variety of business venues. The capital boasts 16 major exhibition centers including ExCeL London, and has a huge range of historical and cultural meeting spaces such as the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, and the Royal Albert Hall, alongside ultra modern meeting spaces that offer the very latest in state of the art technology and seamless business services.

Leisure time
London is a city that thrives on culture and arts. Around every corner visitors will find new and exciting options; music, dance, theatre and restaurants, the list goes on.
    
Visitors can one day be soaking up the grandeur and historical atmosphere of the Tower of London or Hampton Court, and the next day they can be shopping in famous shops such as Harrods, Selfridges or Harvey Nichols.
    
In terms of theatre, guests can watch one of Shakespeare’s plays at the famous Globe Theatre or be dazzled by the glitz and glamour of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musicals.
    
Visitors are also spoilt for choice when it comes to art exhibitions and museums. And if you want to seek more of a modern activity then options such as the IMAX cinema, the London Eye, Greenwich Planetarium and Vinopolis all offer great ‘down-time’ activities giving their own unique and enjoyable experience to visitors.
    
When it comes to food and dining-out, London has cuisines from more than 70 regions around the world and dining experiences range from high-end luxury in some of London’s most glamorous restaurants to a more relaxed meal by grazing at one of London’s bustling food markets including Borough or Greenwich Markets.
    
With more then 6,000 restaurants and 43 of them Michelin-starred, London can be a truly tasty option for any palette or any purse.
    
For an altogether different taste experience, the Hotel Novotel London West offers a unique ‘Five Senses Experience’ where guests are ‘taught’ how to use and appreciate their senses. Armed with these new stimulated senses, each guest then gets to tuck into the ‘Grande Assiette’ – a plate consisting of a selection of delicious taster dishes designed to truly thrill the taste buds and test the senses. Accommodating up to nine people, this activity is ideal for team incentives, client entertainment and staff training.

The future
There is an overall positive effect that the 2012 Games are having on London’s events and hospitality sector and the East area of London is seeing a massive amount of redevelopment and investment. A number of business venues will actually be transformed into Olympic venues, such as ExCeL London, the O2 Arena and the iconic Wembley Stadium will all have a major role to play in hosting 2012 Olympic events.
    
A number of new hotels are also being built in the lead up to the Olympics. By 2012 London will offer 20,000 more rooms bringing the total to 120,000.
    
As well as the various new venues and hotels being created Visit London has also launched a new business website, visitlondon.com/business, which is Visit London's official event organisers' website, and an invaluable tool for meeting and event planners wanting to find fresh and inspirational ideas for their next event. It also has plenty of useful tips and recommendations for business travellers.

Unlocking London

Tracy Halliwell Visit London’s Head of Business & Conventions says: “Our aim is to promote London as the world's most exciting city to do business in. Our core focus is on driving a range of meetings, congresses and incentive travel events to the capital, and our recently expanded Event Solutions Team offers a bespoke and free event solution service.
    
Halliwell adds: “The team is able to assist throughout any stage of the events process – from delivering support for an events bid right through making it happen, and beyond. We offer a 360º support service which can be utilised by any event planner whether large or small.”

For more information
For assistance with your next event, contact
the Event Solutions team:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 5833
Fax: +44 (0)20 7234 5752
E-mail: eventsolutions@visitlondon.com
Web: visitlondon.com/business

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