Former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was awarded the 2008 Tourism Society Award to mark his recognition of the importance of tourism to London and his support for the tourism industry throughout his term of office as London’s first Mayor.
The prestigious award, given to organizations or individuals that have made an exceptional contribution to the development of tourism in the United Kingdom, was presented at the Society’s 31st Annual Dinner at the House of Commons on October 23 by Society president Lord Thurso MP FTS.
The board members of the Tourism Society elected Ken Livingstone to receive the award, in response to a nomination, which read, “When Ken Livingstone was handed statutory responsibility for tourism, as London’s first Mayor, he understood its importance and potential – and radically changed its priority, backing this with adequate funds. The Mayor directed the reorganization of the London Tourist Board into a professionally-run, marketing organization with more than 10 times the previous budget. This lead helped ensure that the other English RDAs (Regional Development Agencies) also backed the potential of tourism, and London’s budget became essential to funding the promotion of Britain as a tourism destination with VisitBritain, Scotland, and Wales.”
On receiving the award, Ken Livingstone commented, “Many thanks for giving me this award. One of the best things about being Mayor of London was the chance to work with David Campbell and James Bidwell in transforming London’s tourism offer. Over the next 15 years, 400 million people in India, China, and the rest of Asia will get the ability to come to the west as tourists. This is a huge opportunity to create jobs for Londoners just as long as they don’t all come at the same time.”
Tourism Society Awards have been received by BBC Coast Series (2007); Sunny Crouch OBE FTS (2006); The Olympic Bid Team (2005); HM The Queen (2003); Chris Collier MBE (2002); Farm Stay UK (2001); Britain’s TIC Staff (2000); The Blue Badge Guides of Britain (1999); Ian Grant CBE – former chairman of the Scottish Tourist Board (1998); and The Chefs of Britain (1997).