Opinion: Marketing Society - Olympic spirit

London is poised to host the biggest event in the world. In 2012, more than 4bn people will watch the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games on TV and 100,000 more will make a trip to the city to watch or take part.

For London, it is the definitive new-business win. The Olympics represents not only the world's biggest sporting prize, but also the biggest commercial prize, touching every sector, from food and entertainment to shopping and leisure. In the years to come, the world will look to London for inspiration.

Our job at Visit London is to deliver economic benefits to the capital. Over recent years, the organisation has promoted London around the world as a dynamic, vibrant, creative, culturally diverse and good-value capital. In the past two months, it has played a pivotal role in tourism recovery programmes.

The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games represent a fantastic opportunity to build on this momentum and raise London's profile, particularly in emerging tourism markets such as China, Russia and eastern Europe. The 2012 Games are another reason to encourage people to visit, and we will be working with sponsors to leverage brand equity and commercial opportunities.

Marketers will appreciate the opportunity that winning the Olympics represents.

Before the Sydney Olympics, people referred to the city as 'Sydney, Australia'.

Afterward, only 'Sydney' was needed - it had become a global brand.

Of course, London is a global city to begin with.

The skyline has changed in the past five years, but it will change dramatically over the years to come. There will be significant improvements in public transport, with £20m to be spent on the London Underground and projects such as Crossrail and the new Eurostar hub at Kings Cross improving transport links and aiding access to the city. London's cultural programme will also be a critical part of the tourism experience.

In addition, there will be exciting venue developments, including the new Wembley Stadium, the 02 (Dome) and Battersea Power Station. These will become tourism hotspots in their own right, expanding the London product.

London boasts some of the most creative industries, and diverse and innovative people, in the world. It was this, coupled with the vision of the 2012 bid team, that saw London chosen as host city for the Olympics. The Games will leave their legacy long after the Olympic flame has been extinguished.

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