Mayor of London Boris Johnson opened World Travel Market 2009 by emphasising how “travel and tourism can bring people together in shared appreciation and understanding.”
(Pictured: WTM Chairman Fiona Jeffrey, along with London Mayor Boris Johnson and BBC correspondent Stephen Sackur.
Referring to the 2012 Olympic Games, Johnson said, “I’m optimistic about the impact of the Games. We want to use the £9.3 billion investment to boost bits of London that have been neglected for ages.
“We want East London to lose its status as second-best,” he said. “We want to make it a place where people want to go rather than a place people want to leave.”
He said that the influx of tourists that the Games will bring represents an opportunity for the capital, saying it offers a chance “to improve the look and feel of London and help to look after the interests of our poorest citizens during the economic downturn.”
He said the benefits of tourism will not just be short term but will benefit the city for years to come. “This is an enormous infrastructure project,” he said. “It’s a new Victorian age, the biggest change to London’s infrastructure in more than 70 years.”
Transport, in particular, will receive a boost. “By the end of my term of office as mayor,” said Johnson, “40% of the Tube will be air-conditioned, the capacity of the Docklands Light Railway will have been increased by 50% and the Oyster card will be valid on London’s overground rail network and on its riverboat service.”
Johnson also stressed the international nature of the capital. “In 2012, there will be visitors from 50 nations who will find a home crowd of more than 50,000 people of their own nationality living in this country,” he said.