Friday, 21 December 2007

Hosting big business in Newham

Over 5000 representatives from the travel industry around the world gathered at the ExCel centre in docklands recently.

Called the World Travel Market, the exhibition drew people from over 200 countries. Why meet in Newham? It could be because of convenience – the ExCel is a very convenient place to hold such events.

But there’s also a chance they chose to host it specifically in Newham because international business seems to take the borough seriously.

The area is home to the 2012 Olympics and was the only borough in London to be granted a licence for a super casino.

Like many residents in Newham, I hate the idea of having a casino – big or small – but that’s another matter.

A London Development Agency study says a good measure of the importance of tourism to each borough’s economy is the proportion of employment in tourism related industries, and that the proportion of tourism related employment in Newham is slightly higher than for the sub-region of east London.

On the occasion of the World Travel Market exhibition, Newham mayor Sir Robyn Wales took the international visitors to the Olympics Park, which itself is a newcomer to the borough.

But what about places like Green Street, Queens Market, Silvertown, Canning Town and Forestgate which support local business and tourism? They may not sparkle like the Olympics Park, but they do a lot for Newham business.

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