The annual event, held at Stansted’s Radisson Blu Hotel, focussed on the opportunities and challenges for the airport and its 180 on-site companies in the run up to 2012, as well as the wider tourism and economic benefits the Games will bring to the UK.
To help provide a real flavour of the Olympic spirit, Dr Alison Mowbray, silver medalist with the British Rowing Team at the 2004 Athens Olympics, gave the keynote speech, highlighting her experiences competing in and winning some of the toughest competitions in the world.
David Johnston, Stansted’s Managing Director, addressing the audience, said: “London 2012 is when the world will come to Britain. Thousands of people from across the globe will come to our shores, many of them arriving through this airport, and the eyes of the world will be on us all thanks to the glare of the 24/7 media spotlight.
“I am sure you’ll all agree it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone, however big or small our business may be. Here at Stansted we must make sure we pull together to get the most out of the Olympics coming to London. But we cannot succeed without a hard working and committed workforce.
“Today’s forum is called ‘A Winning Formula’, and that’s what I believe we can collectively create to maximise potential and achieve our aims.”
Speaking at the Forum, Stansted’s Olympic coordinator, Julia Gregory, said: “The Olympics is a truly fantastic, global event which will capture the imagination of the whole nation come 2012. But the success of Stansted’s role in helping support the Games is dependent on getting the preparation right, maintaining the expected high levels of customer service and ensuring all staff and companies are fully engaged and enthusiastic.”
Kim Winter, Visit Britain’s Welcome to Britain Project Manager, told the Forum: “Aviation is of critical importance to the UK’s tourism industry and economic well-being, and it’s clear air travel will also play a vital role in delivering the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to arrive in the country for the Olympics.
“Much will depend on the welcome these visitors receive if we are to create a positive perception of the UK, and if our hosting of the Games is to be considered a real success. A great first impression is vital as it’s predicted an excellent visitor experience while in the UK could result in a three per cent annual increase in inbound passengers for the four years after 2012.
“Raising our game and improving the British welcome through training and good preparation will ensure we’re all well placed to maximise the opportunities created by 2012 and take advantage of a positive legacy from the Games.”