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  • Tourism Boost Before London, Sochi Olympics; European Olympic Committees Selection


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    VisitBritain and its Russian counterpart, the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, signed an agreement to help boost tourist flow ahead of the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympics.

    The agreement took place in Moscow as part of a state visit to Russia lead, by the British Prime Minister David Cameron. LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe and a delegation of 30 U.K. business leaders also took part in the visit.

    “We look forward to working closely with the Federal Agency for Tourism and to assist it as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi," said Laurence Bresh, director of marketing at VisitBritain.

    "By sharing our own experience from London 2012, we hope we will be able to advance the positive social and economic impact that comes as a result of hosting such a high-profile sporting event.”

    Under the agreement, VisitBritain will provide insight into destination marketing, encourage greater exchange of skills across the industry, and help foster cooperation between Russia and the UK on tourism-specific investment opportunities.

    Commenting on the visit, president and CEO of Sochi 2014 Dmitry Chernyshenko said: "This visit to Russia by such a senior British delegation reflects the excellent relationship that I and all my team at Sochi 2014 enjoy with Seb Coe and London 2012.

    "Whilst each organisation is quite different, we share best practice and cooperate in a number of ways in our common goal to host an outstanding Olympic and Paralympic Games. There is no doubt that Sochi 2014 has benefited from British expertise and now we are in a position to pass on our expertise to future major event organisers."

    New EOC Role for Jirasek

    The EOC executive meeting in Minsk, Belarus. (EOC)
    The European Olympic Committees Executive Committee added Milan Jirasek, president of Czech Olympic Committee, onto the body for the rest of its mandate through 2013.

    He replaces Piotr Nurowski, the late president of the Polish Olympic Committee, who died in a plane crash in Russia last year.

    The decision was made at a meeting of the EOC EC led by president Patrick Hickey in Minsk, Belarus where members helped mark the 20th anniversary of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

    The EOC's final executive committee comes before the European Olympic Movement's 40th annual general assembly in Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held Nov. 23 to 24.

    Team GB Mascot Returns

    Pride the lion will cheer on the British Olympic team at the 2012 Olympics. The British Olympic Association unveiled him as the team’s mascot.

    Pride also supported British athletes in the build-up and during the Beijing
    Games where Team GB secured fourth place in the medal table, winning a total of 47 medals, including 19 gold.

    Since Beijing, Pride's design has been given a slight makeover for London 2012

    “I’m sure he will be a big hit with Team GB fans, using social media channels to connect with young people by bringing a sense of fun and adventure to the 26 Olympic sports," said Andy Hunt Team GB Chef de Mission and BOA chief executive.

    “As well as his athletic aesthetics, Pride’s personality will reflect the lion-hearted attitude of Team GB’s athletes next summer: brave, bold, courageous, resolute, determined and passionate in their quest to bring Olympic success to inspire the whole of the UK. We’ll do it with Pride!”

    Pride is available as part of a range of Team GB products launched by London 2012 last week. The merchandising revenues go towards LOCOG's $3.2 billion budget for staging the Games.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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