Event Guide: London 10 - Things you ought to know about association business in London

1. The Union of International Associations (UIA) rated London as the eighth most popular city for association meetings in its 2005 International Meeting Statistics for the Year report. The others were Paris, Vienna, Brussels, Singapore, Barcelona, Geneva, New York, Seoul and Copenhagen.

2. In 2006, association bookings accounted for 34% of all confirmed business bookings received by Visit London's venue enquiry service. The value to the city of association events booked through the service was more than £77m.

3. The 2006 International Congress & Convention Association's (ICCA) study revealed that London has jumped two places from 13th to 11th in the list of preferred destinations for associations. In 2004, it was ranked 19th.

4. In 2006, London was voted number two in the Anholt Nation Brands Index. The index measures the power and appeal of a nation's brand image across six dimensions: exports, people, governance, tourism, culture and heritage.

5. On 14 November, Eurostar launches services from the revamped St Pancras International station in London. This will open up Europe as a market for associations with journey times to the capital slashed.

6. London has a huge choice of new large venues. The O2 boasts state-of-the-art corporate entertainment facilities. The O2 Arena can hold up to 20,000, while the more intimate Indigo2 has a 2,350-person capacity. Wembley Stadium has capacity for 1,000 for conferences and more than 3,000 for receptions. The Royal Festival Hall, the centrepiece of the Southbank Centre, has reopened following a refurbishment; its auditorium can hold 2,780. The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre has also been refurbished, expanding its capacity from 1,000 to 1,300.

7. This year Excel London demonstrated the capital's appeal to association delegates. The British Insurance Brokers' Association's annual conference, held in May, saw a 60% rise in visitor attendance. The European Association for Geoscientists and Engineers saw delegate numbers for its 2007 conference increase by 28% compared with last year, the highest figure ever recorded in the event's 69-year history.

8. Visit London has built a team aimed at driving association business to the capital in the run-up to, during and after the 2012 Games. Tracy Halliwell has been appointed head of business sales and convention services, Becky Graveney has been made association sales manager and Sanaa Benmoussa is the association executive.

9. London's hotel stock continues to grow. Opened in September, the four-star Radisson Edwardian New Providence Wharf hotel has 169 rooms and an events suite for up to 200. The Park Plaza County Hall, near Westminster Bridge, opens in November. It will have 395 rooms. The Sofitel London Heathrow at Terminal 5 will have 600 rooms and events facilities for up to 2,800 people when it opens next March.

10. In 2006, 28 of the world's top 500 companies had headquarters in London, making it a crucial hub for association business.


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