The London 2012 Olympics will be the first ever games to build legacy in from the outset. That legacy is built around the five main themes of sport, regeneration of the east end of London, opportunities for young people, sustainability and the UK’s profile in the world. We will shortly publish the detailed access plan, which will describe how each of those specific commitments will be realised.
I have had extensive discussions with a wide range of interested parties about how we maximise the legacy. We have also extended an invitation to people in every region of the country through two 2012 roadshows, the UK School Games and, as recently as two weeks ago, the launch of the new business opportunities network; £6 billion and 75,000 contracts will be available for British firms to bid for throughout the country.
The Minister has committed to use the Olympics to help to create a £100 billion tourism industry in the UK by 2010. Indeed, even more ambitious figures have been put forward. However, the most recent DCMS figures on tourism productivity show that the Government’s original estimates were wildly over-optimistic—to a factor of 12. Does the Minister agree that the £9 million cut to VisitBritain’s budget means that it is now impossible to achieve a sustainable Olympic tourism legacy?
No, I do not accept that at all. The estimate of the tourism premium from the Olympic games is about £2 billion. Every regional development agency has developed its own Olympic plan. Plans for the development of tourism and the realisation of the tourism potential are critical parts of those Olympic plans. No doubt has been cast on the feasibility of whether those plans will deliver the Olympic tourism premium.