London 2012: Bi-annual cultural festival could be Olympic and Paralympic legacy

10:43 15 August 2012

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt delivers a speech on the British tourist industry at the Tate Modern. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt delivers a speech on the British tourist industry at the Tate Modern. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A bi-annual cultural festival capitalising on the success of the 2012 Games could be held in London.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed the idea in a speech he made yesterday at the Tate Modern about the tourism legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He said: “Today, the whole country is riding high on a wave of global, Olympic excitement. In Shakespeare’s words: “On such a full sea are we now afloat… We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures”.

“In such a landmark year, with so much in our favour, isn’t now the time to go further, to make this Olympic year a real turning point for UK tourism? To step up, if you like, from being a creditable finalist to winning the gold medal.”

Mr Hunt said the Olympics should be “for Britain what Usain Bolt is for athletics – something that grabs the attention of the whole world and refuses to let it go”.

He continued: “We must use this extraordinary year to turbo-charge our tourism industry. To create jobs and prosperity on the back of a globally-enhanced reputation. And to show that when we talk about Olympic legacy, tourism is an opportunity we seized and ran with all the way to the finishing line.”

Among the plans Mr Hunt set out was to have a regular cultural festival in London.

He said: “Following this extraordinary year, I also want us to capitalise on the successes we have achieved in developing cultural tourism.

“Tony Hall and Ruth Mackenzie deserve enormous credit for putting together the London 2012 Festival, which has already been enjoyed by around 10million people across the country, with more opportunities still to come – surely the biggest and best Cultural Olympiad ever.

“How can we build on this? One promising idea is to have a London Biennale – a bi-annual London or UK-wide arts festival to celebrate the best of what we have to offer culturally.

“I have therefore asked Tony and Ruth to do a report for me on the feasibility of such a festival, how much it would cost and how it should be delivered.”

In the speech he also set out a series of goals for the tourism industry, including increasing the number of overseas visitors to the UK from just over 30million today to 40m by 2020 and “to exploit the extraordinary role that sport has as a magnet for tourism by exploiting the opportunities presented by hosting world cups in rugby league, rugby union and cricket, not to mention the Ryder Cup and the Champions League final, the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the World Athletics Championships in the Olympic stadium in 2017”.

He said £2m would be invested in a domestic tourism advertising campaign next year, following on from a campaign this year which featured Rupert Grint, Julie Walters, Stephen Fry and Michelle Dockery.

Mr Hunt also said there would be a focus on marketing the UK in China next year, with an £8m focus on the country.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Police hold a man, during the anti-austerity protest in Whitehall, as protesters mark their opposition to measures set out in the Queen's Speech, following the State Opening of Parliament.

Five people were arrested in London last night after thousands of anti-austerity protesters marched against austerity measures by the Conservative government following the State Opening of Parliament.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Residents fear the water filled whole has exposed them to sewage  (Pic credit: Nathalie Raffray)

Kingsbury residents who were left without water for almost 12 hours following a burst pipe and a pavement collapse yesterday now fear they may be exposed to raw sewage.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
The cyclist was hit by a lorry in Denmark Hill

A female cyclist is fighting for her life after being struck by a lorry on Denmark Hill, south London.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Friends paid tribute Joe Walker at the spot where he was killed

A teenage boy has been given a 12-month-detention order for his part in the death of Joe Walker, a 17-year-old from Stroud Green who was killed in a road crash last October.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
A new play chronicles the shocking story of sex predator Savile

‘Were there people in showbusiness who knew he was ‘dodgy’? Absolutely’

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Read more
You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more
Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Read more