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Archive for May, 2011

Carrier bag report removed from EA website

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Mystery surrounds the decision by the Environment Agency (EA) to remove an influential report from its website. The long-awaited report – which was scheduled for publication in 2007 but did not actually appear until February of this year – was removed from the EA website on 12 April due to ‘a legal query’. Its publication had been broadly welcomed by the packaging industry, as it concluded that cotton bags were actually no greener than plastic bags.

An EA spokeswoman recently told the website, “We removed the report on the Life Cycle Assessment of Carrier Bags from our website after we received a legal query regarding it. We are making some minor changes to provide clarification on technical points but, at this stage, do not expect the conclusions to change. We plan to publish it again very soon.”

The EA has not revealed the nature of the legal query, nor the identity of the organisation or individual who raised it. The report shows that HDPE bags are almost 200 times less damaging to the environment than the cotton bags favoured by green campaigners, and that they have less than one third of the C02 emissions of paper bags. Thus, in order to offset the small impact of each plastic bag, consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year, or use paper bags at least three times before binning or recycling them. Critics of the report, however, have pointed out that its findings totally ignore the effects of plastic bag litter. All this comes at a pivotal moment, as the EU is considering a Europe-wide ban on single-use plastic bags as part of its plans to reduce the impact of plastic waste.

Over 25% of Olympic hospitality tickets sold

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Prestige Ticketing, official London 2012 hospitality ticket provider, has revealed to Haymarket’s Event Magazine that it has sold more than a quarter of its 88,000 hospitality packages for the London Olympic Games.

Whereas public tickets are being allocated by a random ballot process, the corporate tickets have been sold on a first-come-first-served basis since 15 March. Prestige says that the most popular tickets have been those for the athletics, rowing and diving events, closely followed by cycling at the Velodrome, gymnastics and beach volleyball, the latter taking place at Horse Guards Parade. While equestrian events, basketball and swimming have also been popular, tennis matches only just made the top ten in the popularity stakes. This may be due to the fact that the tennis events take place at the All England Tennis Club less than six weeks after the start of the Wimbledon tournament.

Prestige will be building temporary venues in the Olympic Park, Horse Guards Parade, Greenwich Park, Eton Dorney and Weymouth for the Olympics, with each having its own theme and design. The company has also secured all 96 boxes at the O2 Arena, which will be renamed the North Greenwich Arena for the duration – some hope of that catching on, we think! Hospitality ticket prices range from £325 per person up to a whopping £4,500 per person for an opening or closing event.

EC&O to fight tube cuts

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) plans to lobby central and local government following the announcement last month by Transport for London (TfL) that it will cut District Line services to Kensington (Olympia) on weekdays from December.

The move is just part of TfL’s shake-up of District Line services. It is expected, however, that London Underground will operate a special service for major weekday events at London Olympia and that overground train services to Kensington (Olympia) will increase. For other passengers to London Olympia, London Underground has recommended use of the nearby Barons Court or West Kensington stations, which are within half a mile of the venue.

The news is a further blow to Olympia, which was recently given the elbow by Emap’s annual BETT education technology show in favour of London’s Excel. Earls Court, meanwhile, is under the axe of its owner, Capital and Counties (CapCo), which plans to bulldoze the exhibition centre and redevelop the 77-acre site with residential and commercial property.

EC&O has scheduled meetings with local councillors from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, as well as representatives from the Greater London Authority and London Underground. It also hopes to meet with Deputy Mayor for Transport, Isabel Dedring.

Last year 1.1 million people visited the venues at Olympia and the EC&O management claims it was not consulted about the cancellation of the service prior to its public announcement. Group Managing Director, Nigel Nathan, said, “The purpose of all these meetings is to ensure third-party stakeholders have all the information required to campaign on the issue and to steadily increase the pressure on TfL. We all know Olympia offers a central London venue which is uniquely embedded within the Underground network. We will fight to ensure that this continues to be the case.”

London Underground Strategy and Commercial Director, Richard Parry, has said that the new tube timetable is designed to deal with bottlenecks in the Earls Court area, which London Underground claims is one of the most complex junctions on the tube network and the cause of many delays on the District Line.

London & Partners team announced

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

London and Partners – the new promotional agency for London that was officially launched by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, on 1 April this year – has announced the membership of its new executive team. The organisation incorporates Visit London, Study London and Think London, responsible for promoting tourism, higher education at London’s 42 universities and foreign investment to the capital respectively.

Reporting to Interim CEO Danny Lopez, the new team comprises Andrew Cooke as Chief Operating Officer/Deputy CEO, Tracy Halliwell as Director of Business Tourism & Major Events, Paul Bromelow as Sales Director (Foreign Direct Investment), Martine Ainsworth Wells as Director of Marketing & Communications, Oliver Leeds as Interim Commercial Director and Julie Chappell as Acting Head of Digital.

The team will have to hit the ground running in order to maximise the potential of upcoming events including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics.

Commenting on the announcement, Interim CEO Danny Lopez said, “I am delighted to confirm the appointment of the executive team for London & Partners, the makeup of which reflects the business objectives of the new agency. The Executive, supported by their teams, can ensure that the excellent legacy of all three agencies is continued through London & Partners and that the capital remains the most popular place to visit, invest and study.”

London & Partners will be responsible for promoting London to key relevant domestic and international markets including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA, China and India. The body will work closely with other London agencies and stakeholders, as well as national promotional bodies and the public sector to ensure that all areas of business in London are represented.

Live music events hit the right note for UK economy

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Recent research from UK Music has found that live music events contribute a foot-tapping 864 million to the UK economy.

In a research paper entitled ‘Destination: Music’, the organisation representing the UK’s commercial music industry states that large-scale live music events – those with crowds of over 5000 – attracted 7.7 million people in 2009, many of them tourists from overseas. It is estimated that between them they spent an impressive £1.4 billion during their trips to the UK and live music events were thought to have accounted for almost 20,000 full-time jobs in this country.

“I am hugely excited by the findings of this research,” said the Chief Executive of UK Music, Feargal Sharkey. The former front-man of The Undertones went on to say, “Its message is crystal clear: music provides a huge boost to UK tourism, it drives growth, it sustains thousands of jobs across all regions and it enhances our lives. I am optimistic that policy-makers will view this data and acknowledge there is even more we could achieve, especially when it comes to attracting overseas visitors. The rest of the world clearly recognises the importance of music to the UK. It is time we did similar.”

Mr Sharkey – who also enjoyed a successful solo career including the worldwide number one hit, “A Good Heart” – became Chair of the Live Music Forum in 2004 and then Chief Executive of British Music Rights in February 2008, a role which was then expanded with the creation of UK Music in September of that year. UK Music represents the collective interests of artists, musicians, composers, songwriters, major and independent record labels, managers, music publishers and collecting societies.

Survey reveals exhibitions are coming out of recession

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

An events industry survey has shown that the number of companies exhibiting at trade shows rose by 3% in 2010, compared with 2009.

The annual FaceTime survey, ‘The Facts 2011′ – commissioned by the Association of Event Organisers and carried out by Vivid Interface – points to an industry that is coping in the economic downturn and even beginning to recover more quickly than other elements of marketing activity. Consumer events, however, fared a little worse, with 2010 showing a 0.7% drop in exhibitors.

The figures also show that, despite the increase in companies exhibiting, organisers booked on average almost 6% less event space in exhibition halls in 2010, compared to the previous year. When it comes to visitors, the reported fall in exhibition visitor numbers in 2009 seems to be slowing and prospects look brighter for 2011.

Explained Geoffrey Dixon, Managing Director of Vivid Interface, “In the 2010 report of 2009 events, we were reporting attendance declines for both trade and consumer events; declines that appeared to be influenced mainly by adverse economic conditions. In 2011, reporting on 2010 events,” he continued, “we can see a significant reduction in the rate of decline for ‘average’ trade event attendance while consumer event attendance continues to decline by around 3%. These declines are small in comparison to some other magazine and newspaper markets.”

AEO bid to save Earls Court

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Doomed exhibition venue Earls Court and Olympia has received a boost to its campaign for survival, with news that the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) is throwing its weight behind the bid to save it.

Earls Court is under the axe of its owner, Capital and Counties (CapCo), which plans to bulldoze the exhibition centre and redevelop the 77-acre site with residential and commercial property. The AEO is promising to lobby “both national and local government, the London Mayor, relevant planning authorities and Earls Court owner CapCo” in its efforts to get the demolition plans ditched, or at least ensure that the new development includes an exhibition centre.

Said AEO Chief Executive, Austen Hawkins, “The plans to destroy London’s major West End exhibition centre will have disastrous consequences on not only the UK exhibition industry but also on the national and local economy.”

According to the AEO, Earls Court – directly and indirectly – accounts for some 12,500 jobs in London and attracts more than 2.5 million visitors.

High-profile shows move out of Earls Court and Olympia

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Two top exhibitions – BETT and Top Gear Live – are departing their traditional venues at Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O). The news was revealed in the most recent quarterly financial statement of EC&O owner, Capital and Counties (CapCo).

For several years now, Olympia has hosted Emap’s annual BETT education technology show, while Earls Court has been the venue for Brand Events’ Top Gear Live, which runs alongside the MPH Prestige and Performance Motor Show.

BETT, which attracts over 700 exhibitors, is scheduled to run at Olympia for the last time in January 2012, relocating to London’s Excel for 2013. Commented Emap Connect MD, Paul Dunne, “Although it’s with sadness that we announce our move from such a great venue, BETT has quite simply outgrown the space available.” Superior transport services post-Olympics and good accommodation options were also cited by Emap as part of the strategy behind the move.

CapCo dismissed the show losses as “reflecting the competitive nature of the market”. The company is now in the process of promoting its investment plan for the redevelopment of the 77-acre Earls Court site, including demolition of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. To coincide with this, the company has commenced a £20 million redevelopment programme to expand and improve Olympia. However, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) has announced plans to lobby Government in a bid to foil CapCo’s plans and retain the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.