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'China vital for 2012 tourism legacy'
A successful 2012 London Games will not just deliver a bagful of medals for British athletes and a sporting legacy for the nation. Another key indicator of a triumphant Games will be a boost in tourism from China, says Visit London.
A lasting tourism legacy is intended to be one of the major benefits from hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
London alone could see an extra £2.2bn pumped into the local economy from the impact of foreign visitors coming to enjoy the Games in 2012.
However, Visit London, the capital's official tourism body, has warned that attracting visitors from China will be crucial in ensuring that the British capital remains a popular destination for international travellers.
Visit London's chief executive, James Bidwell, said: "China is one of London's fastest growing visitor markets."
"Despite economic uncertainty throughout much of the world, new results show that Chinese visitors to London increased by 26 per cent to 82,000 in 2007 and this number is set to rise to 350,000 by 2012."
The Tourist Market
Research shows that increases in visits from traditional markets such as Europe and the United States are likely to be outpaced from the emerging economies of the world.
China alone is estimated to have 100 million outbound tourists by 2020.
The declared aim of Visit London is to attract as many of these Chinese holiday makers as possible.
The organisation is taking nothing for granted with a delegation, including chief executive James Bidwell, visiting China for the 2008 Beijing Games to host a series of events to raise London's profile.
"Visit London will be focusing on how we can translate the excitement of the Chinese over their own Games to London's in 2012," said James Bidwell.
In 2007, Visit London and its equivalent in China, the Beijing Municipal Tourism Authority, signed a groundbreaking deal to encourage travel to each other's cities.
last updated: 07/08/2008 at 17:37