London Ramps Up for the Olympics

It’s an interesting time to be in London, meeting people from the events industry, because in just two years, the city will host the biggest event in the world: the Summer Olympic Games. At the ICC London ExCeL Launch Event today, everybody was talking about that within the context of the ICC project, which doubles ExCeL’s meeting space, and adds a 4,000-seat auditorium and a 3,000-person banquet hall. The consensus seems to be that, taken together, the ICC and the Olympics are a game-changer for London.

“People always want to come to London,” Amanda Jobbins, vice president of European marketing for Cisco, said during a “London Future Forum” panel discussion at today’s event. “Here with the ICC, they’ve got another reason.” In January, Cisco will bring its annual Cisco Live conference to ExCeL — the first time that the Europe-based event has been held in London.
In 2012, ExCeL will host seven Olympic sports and five Paralympic events. “The brilliance of 2012,” said Daniel Ritterband, London’s director of marketing, and another London Future Forum panelist, “is it’s a catalyst.” Added Bill Morris, director of culture, ceremonies, and education for the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games: “London is a wonderfully porous city that can welcome people from wherever. … [The 2012] London [Olympics] will be truly spectacular, but in its own way.”

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.