Each year a staggering 803,000 visitors take the District Line from Earls Court to reach the conference centre; this is 73% of the venue’s total visitors. The letter highlights the industry’s fear that if the Tube link does close, many show organisers both in the UK and overseas will think again about using Olympia, and instead look for alternativevenuesin the UK or abroadthat have better transport links.
Austen Hawkins, CEO of the Association of the Event Organisers, comments; “Once the news came out that TFL wanted to close the tube link to Olympia, I have been absolutely bombarded by my members who are deeply concerned about the viability of their shows at Olympia if the District Line closes. In these tough economic times, it is difficult enough to get people to attend shows; taking away a direct tube link could make it virtually impossible.
I call on Boris Johnson and TFL to see the huge economic importance of the events business to the West London economy and not to do anything that could threaten it. Otherwise this could be the start of the slow death of London Olympia.”
London Olympia is currently one of the UK’s most important Conference and Exhibition Centres, with over 1.1 million people visiting it each year. 240 local jobs are directly dependent on Olympia and thousands more are indirectly dependent on it. The centre and its associated shows contribute over half a billion pounds to West London per year.
Many of the country’s most famous consumer events such as the Ski & Snowboard Show and the Doctor Who Experience are held there. The venue also hosts many internationally renowned trade shows, such as Top Draw. Both consumer and trade shows drive British business and create British jobs around the whole of the UK.
Andy Center, CEO of CloserStill Media and signatory to the letter, comments: “We have based our events business close to Olympia as we run many shows there. We know that closing the tube link to Olympia will have a disastrous effect on our business, and will certainly make us consider whether to continue to use Olympia as a venue and also force us to reconsider where our business is based.
Industry leaders who have signed the letter include Malcolm Gough, CEO of Emap Connect, Simon Kimble, CEO of Clarion Events Ltd, Laura Biggs, Managing Director of Haymarket Exhibitions Ltd, and Justin Tadman, Divisional Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions.
TFL are currently undertaking an online consultation on the closure of the station,via their website, which closes on the 15 July.
For further information and interviewees, please contact:
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Note for editors:
1. The full list of signatories to the letter is;
Chris Hughes, Managing Director, Brand Events
Malcolm Gough, CEO, Emap Connect
Jane Risby-Rose, Global Advisor UBM Live
Malcolm Taylor, Managing Director, Brintex Ltd
Laura Biggs, Managing Director, Haymarket Exhibitions Ltd
Stephen Brooks, Chairman and CEO, Mack Brooks Exhibitions Ltd
Christopher Newton, Chairman, Montgomery Exhibitions
James Brooks-Ward, Managing Director, Ocean Media Group Ltd
Paul Michael, Managing Director, Quartz Publishing & Exhibitions Ltd
Justin Tadman, Divisional Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions
Mark Moloney, Managing Director, T E Trade Events (Pty) Ltd
Doug Emslie, Group Managing Director, Tarsus Group
Caroline Pepper, Director, UKIP Media & Events
Paul Byrom, Managing Director, Upper Street Events
Henri Cash, Partner, VCM Events
Andrew Reed, Managing Director, William Reed Business Media Ltd
Peter Hall, Managing Director, Informa Plc
Simon Kimble, CEO, Clarion Events Ltd
Rob Nathan, Group Marketing Director, Media 10 Limited
Andy Center, CEO, CloserStill Media
Austen Hawkins, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers
2. Andy Center, CEO of CloserStill Media and Austen Hawkins CEO of the Association of Event Organisers are available for interview.
3. A copy of the full letter is available on request.