Speaking to Event, Johnson stated that bringing more events to the capital and boosting business tourism as part of the Olympic legacy was crucial, but highlighted a need to improve on the existing event infrastructure. He said: "We need to be winning more events here, but we need a few more convention centres."
Johnson referenced London’s ascent to sixth position globally for business events, following a record year for events in 2012. The drive to position the capital in the top five destinations globally for events was spearheaded by London & Partners, and recent wins include Maker Faire, taking place in summer 2015 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Johnson declined to comment on whether funding for the promotional organisation would be increasing in 2014 to capitalise on the momentum created by the 2012 Games, but added: "We have put huge amounts into London & Partners following the Olympics and it is essential that we bring more large-scale events to the capital as part of the legacy."
Tracy Halliwell, London & Partners director of business tourism & major events, responded: "We are in year three of the three-year funding plan and we have funding for the following three years, so the Mayor is absolutely supporting London & Partners."
She continued: "We have more than 1,500 venues that can host large events in London. There is a dearth of larger spaces for 2,000 or more where you can host dinners and events in central London – but where would you build that? People want a ready-made venue – we have venues such as Grosvenor House, but we don’t have enough."
Halliwell added that a number of new venues are set to boost the capital’s event infrastructure, such as the InterContinental London The O2, which will feature Europe’s largest pillar-free ballroom.
Comment below to let us know what you think: Does the capital need larger – or more – convention spaces? What could the Mayor’s office do to champion events in the capital?
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