Boris Johnson credits London hotels with helping to boost city's business tourism credentials

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: City

Since 2008 London has rocketed up the rankings of cities for business tourism
Since 2008 London has rocketed up the rankings of cities for business tourism
London has been elevated to sixth place in the International Congress and Convention Association's list of the most popular cities for business tourism, an accolade the London Mayor has attributed in part to the capital's hotels.  

The annual International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking, which is created following interviews with the organisation's members and researchers, is based on the number of international conferences or meetings held in each country and city around the world.

The UK came fourth in the overall list with 477 meetings held here in 2012. Only the USA, Germany and Spain hosted more.

The majority of the international meetings held in the UK last year (150) took place in London meaning the capital is now sixth on the list of world cities ahead of rivals such as New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, Chicago and Sydney.

Concerted effort

Becky Graveney, head of associations at London & Partners, celebrates London's position as the sixth most popular city for business tourism

The ranking is even more impressive given how far London has come - in 2008 the city could only muster 19th place on the same list.

"London’s popularity as a host for major business events continues to rise thanks to a concerted effort to capture more of the fiercely competitive business tourism market," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"We have the expertise, the transport system, venues and accommodation to ensure these events will receive a world class experience. The city’s extraordinary success in hosting last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games will only build on this success," he added.


The statistics are based on figures from 2012 when hotels were encouraged to take advantage of the influx of visitors to the city - both leisure and business travellers.

However the improved ranking represents a more long-term trend of improvement in the city's business travel offering. New conference and association business has been secured by the city's official convention bureau - London & Partners - which has gone hand in hand with a rise in the number of business-focused hotels in the capital.

Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, also credited the city's hoteliers with helping to raise the capital's business tourism standards.

"Today’s news is the result of the hard work of London’s venues, hotels and wider events industry, and of the entire team at London & Partners CVB, who work tirelessly to attract, bid for and deliver hundreds of events across the capital each year," he said.

Hospitality businesses, and hotel operators in particular, have been reporting an upsurge in corporate and business travel interest despite a year without big headline events such as the Olympic Games.

Hotel chain Jury's Inn recently re-positioned its business to focus on corporate bookers - a move that has already paid dividends. In February, the firm reported that corporate business had jumped by eight per cent over the last year.

Innes explained he thought the sector could grow even further. "London’s meetings and events proposition is improving, year on year, and London & Partners is absolutely focused on leveraging last year's Olympic showcase to grow the events and meetings industry in the coming months.

"We have set our sights on entering the top five next year," he revealed.

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