Great day for London, says Mayor as Excel’s ICC officially opens

London Mayor Boris Johnson declared
the £165m Excel London ICC open today at a launch event at the venue’s new
extension.

The launch was attended by the
chairman of Excel owner, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), Sheikh
Sultan bin Tahnoon al Nahyan, who described the completion of the facility’s
extension as “a landmark development for this great
city”.

The launch gathered hundreds of
UK and international events industry
movers and shakers and media. Excel London chief executive Kevin Murphy unveiled
the new 5,000-seat auditorium, with the ICC’s extra 32,500sqm of events space on
show.

Murphy said London now had “the
greatest convention centre in the greatest city in the world” and paid tribute
to ADNEC’s “vision and commitment” to plans for development that previous owners
had been “unwilling” to finance.

The Phase Two development continues
with a £50m hotel development, owned by ADNEC and operated by the Starwood Aloft
brand.

Mayor Johnson, “indignant” at
London’s lowly 16th place ranking in the ICCA
city tables for international association business, said he was confident that
London’s
convention offer would now become “a world beater”.

Murphy claimed 10 major events, each
bringing 5,000 delegates, were booked in to the venue and he was confident
London would
soon enter the ICCA city top 10 rankings.

“The 100-acre Excel site is now
worth £1.6bn a year in terms of economic benefit for the capital,” Murphy
concluded.

A London Future Forum organised by
the Mayor’s office, Excel and the International Special Events Society, tackled
issues that a panel of experts claimed stood in the way of fully realising the
Olympic events industry legacy.

Industry PR agency Davies Tanner’s
chief executive, Robert Wright, chaired a panel discussion with representatives
from Cisco (Excel’s technology provider), George P Johnson, Barclays Events,
LOCOG and the Mayor’s office. Facility and hotel availability and improvements
in the transport system in the capital were key areas identified for further
improvement.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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