By Daniel Hunter

Embracing our cultural heritage as a revenue stream in the Olympic year is crucial to our success as a tourism hub and economic power, say leading industry figures.

The National Trust, English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces, The V&A, Tate, British Museum and National Gallery are among over 100 organisations that will come together to discuss how the sector can maximise opportunities presented by the London Olympics 2012.

From location filming to e-commerce and developing killer product ranges, the Association for Cultural Enterprises (ACE) 13th Annual Convention & Exhibition, will explore innovative ways in which the sector can engage and attract an estimated four million additional overseas Olympic visitors, during the recession and with no additional government funding.

“Heritage remains the most cited reason for people to visit Britain and currently renders a turnover of in excess of £1 billion a year," John Stachiewicz, Chairman of ACE and Publisher and Head of Media Group, National Trust, said.

"The Olympics present the perfect opportunity to boost this figure significantly, which is why it is important that we have the necessary knowledge, skills and ideas to effectively engage with overseas visitors. The ACE Convention will help the sector to do that.”

The two day event on Thursday 8th & Friday 9th March at Brighton Dome will bring together senior industry figures including Baroness Andrews, Chairman of English Heritage, and the convention’s host, Janita Bagshawe Head of Museums and Director at the Royal Pavilion.

“The Convention is very timely this year with museums organising their programmes around the Olympics. We need to get thinking about how we can best display our attractions and gear our products to the UK inbound visitors so that they return. The convention will build confidence, skills and generate ideas about how to do that,” Laura Wright, CEO of Tate Enterprises, and a judge of the prestigious Best Product Awards, said.

The Convention will be followed by the biggest UK heritage retail trade fair, with over sixty stands representing the leading suppliers in the cultural heritage sector. It will culminate in the Prodir Best Product Awards, which recognise excellence in retail and publishing in the museums and heritage sector.

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