Excel first with ICC for the capital

Excel London officially lays claim to London’s first
International Convention Centre, with the 1 October announcement that the Phase II £165m expansion is “on time and on budget” for completion in spring 2010.

CEO Kevin Murphy told a London press briefing that, when complete,
ICC London would meet every need in
the Acher report and “without cost to the city”.

The private investment
by ADNEC will see its Excel venue expand by 50 per cent, create 12,000 new jobs
and bring on stream a 5,000-seater auditorium.

Visit London CEO Sally Chatterjee told the
briefing that the recent creation of the London Business Tourism Group was part
of a fresh drive “to improve dramatically the business tourism product in the
capital”.

“Business tourism has never been more
important to London and there is a clear
aspiration to be the world’s leading destination,” she said, stressing that
3.5m business visitors to London
were worth an annual £2.5bn spend.

Greater London Assembly director of marketing
Dan Ritterbrand said it was time for
London to move beyond being “Number One leisure city destination in the world”,
and “step up our game in business
tourism”.

Chatterjee does not rule out another ICC in
the capital but “for the foreseeable future there are no concrete plans”.

Murphy added that at least 10 acres would
be needed for any new-build, which would likely cost in excess of £250m. With a
bed tax ruled out by business and government
so far unwilling to contribute funding, Murphy believes a second ICC in London “could be a long
time coming”.

He announced forward bookings for the new
ICC up to 2017, worth £66m to the London
economy, with a further 40 contracts under discussion.

A large Gastro medical
convention later this year is expected to bring in over 15,000 delegates to
Excel.

Murphy added that the new expanded facility
would provide London’s
largest banqueting hall and be able to host up to 20,000 delegates for the
really large international conventions.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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