Olympics 2012: Placing Hertfordshire in the shopping window of the world

Need to seize opportunity presented by London Games

HERTFORDSHIRE is being touted as “London’s garden” in a bid to attract Olympic athletes, their support teams, tourists, and the media to destinations like St Albans.

Jon Kett-Reynolds, chairman of Hertfordshire Hoteliers Association (HHA), said: “It’s the biggest opportunity we have had to place our county in the shopping window of the world. It may not happen again in our lifetimes.”

Speaking at the recent HHA Countdown to the Olympics evening at Sopwell House, he said that the tourist industry faced a challenge meeting the diverse expectations of those visiting from different nations as well as access needs of guests, particularly those with disabilities.

He added: “There is a great challenge to us all, to make everyone feel welcome. We really want to get this right, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Jon told the Herts Advertiser that there had been many enquiries about hotel accommodation in St Albans and elsewhere in the county, particularly from large groups of visitors, ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.

He added: “But at the moment there is hesitancy about committing too much. I can’t speak for all hotels, but certainly for our members there is an enormous amount of interest.”

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Jon said: “HHA are selling Hertfordshire as London’s garden. We are a stone’s throw away.”