UK Olympics minister, Jeremy Hunt, has been selected to open World Travel Market 2011, the leading global event for the travel industry.
The final WTM before the 2012 London Olympics Games, the 2011 event will have a strong sports tourism theme as it examines the potential of the sector to bolster the UK economy.
Hunt – member of parliament for South West Surrey and officially titled secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport - will discuss the government’s tourism plans for the Olympics and how it will create a legacy for not just London but the whole of the UK.
Tourism contributes £115 billion each year to the UK economy, with the UK government believing it has the potential to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the years ahead.
Speaking last week at the launch of the UK government’s GREAT campaign - which aims to generate at least £1 billion in Olympic and attract four million extra visitors - Hunt said: “The GREAT campaign will ensure that we make the most of London 2012 to boost tourism and business, leaving a lasting economic legacy from London’s Games.”
He will be joined a high-profile sporting guest.
The Opening Ceremony is the first of many sessions at WTM 2011 looking at the potential of the Olympics and sports tourism.
There is a full sports tourism programme, sponsored by eurosport, throughout the four days including in afternoon the opening day of WTM entitled Game Plan - A 21st Century Sports Tourism Strategy, hosted by former Olympic middle and long-distance runner David Moorcroft.
The panel will include Katarzyna Sobierajska, deputy minister of sport and tourism for Poland.
She will discuss how its tourism sector plans to capitalise on co-hosting the Euro 2012 football tournament.