Peter Sheppard - how Norfolk businesses should use the Olympics to their advantage

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was in Norwich last week urging our tourism businesses not to miss out on the 'once-in-a-generation' opportunity created by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to help put the county on the map.

And with the announcement the Olympic torch will arrive in Norwich early evening on Wednesday, July 4, the Olympic countdown is now on in our region.

An evening of celebrations is planned in the city including a 2.5-hour show to be staged by London 2012 at Chapelfield Gardens, during which an Olympic cauldron will be lit as part of a live broadcast. The torch's route through Norwich will be marked by giant puppets, flags, bunting and human pyramids to name just a few, as arts organisations and communities mark the occasion.

Norwich is being marketed as a destination venue for those attending the Olympics, with the city only two hours by train direct into Stratford Regional in the heart of the Olympic village.

In addition, our region will itself play host to both the mountain bike course and the canoe slalom.


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As emphasised by Mr Hunt during last week's Olympic summit, while Norwich's transport links make it an ideal base for those attending the Olympics, this same ease of access, combined with a wealth of cultural attractions and beautiful scenery, makes Norwich a top choice for any Londoner wishing to escape Olympic crowds for a short staycation in the country.

It is anticipated the Olympics will not only raise the general profile of the region but will bring tangible financial benefits to many local businesses. We advise all local businesses in the tourism sector to make preparations early for a particularly busy and extended summer season, whether that be a recruitment drive to attract the best summer workforce, reviewing supply arrangements to ensure you will able to satisfy increased levels of demand or simply giving your premises a lick of paint for an attractive, welcoming first impression.

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However, a note of caution to any business planning to run Olympic-themed promotions or events or to incorporate references to the Olympics into its marketing –tread with extreme caution.

The Olympic brand is one of the most heavily protected and any business making unauthorised use of it faces potentially serious legal redress. The restrictions do not only prevent unauthorised use of trademarks associated with the Olympics and London 2012 but extend to any action which may create an association with the Olympics in the mind of the public.

Falling foul of the regulations can result in big fines (up to �20,000 for unauthorised association) as well as criminal liability for individuals.

Any business intending to make any use of Olympic imagery or references, whether or not for commercial gain, is strongly advised to review the branding guidelines at www.london2012.com or take specific legal advice.

? Peter Sheppard is tourism and leisure partner and head of commercial team at Leathes Prior.

? Take part in the Larking Gowen-EDP Tourism Business Survey. The 2012 Larking Gowen-EDP Tourism Business Survey website will be open until Sunday. Larking Gowen chartered accountants and business advisors will help to analyse the data before the results are presented in March. You can see the results online at www.edp24.co.uk/tourismsurvey, in the EDP and in a glossy brochure.

Take part now at www.edp24.co.uk/tourismsurvey. You can complete the survey online or request a PDF.

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