Outdoor Industries Association Blog

Archive for June, 2012

Using the Olympics and Paralympics to create a legacy for the outdoor industry

Friday, June 15th, 2012

If the blanket media coverage for the Olympic Torch relay is any indication, there is only really going to be one story in town for a while come the end of July.  Excitement about the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is building at a rate of knots and we’re set for quite a crescendo.  In all of this storm of media content, it is interesting to note that the organisers of the relay and the opening ceremony appear to be very aware of the importance of the outdoors to Great Britain’s society and culture.

We already witnessed Sir Chris Bonington taking the Olympic Torch to the summit of Snowdon as one of iconic moments of the relay, and this week, details emerged of plans for a very outdoors themed opening ceremony.  Film director Danny Boyle revealed a vision that will see the Olympic Stadium transformed into a “British meadow”.  Whether we like Boyle’s idea or not, what is clear is that he has recognised that the British outdoors is something that should be front and centre when showcasing the country to its own people and to the rest of the world.

So, although competition climbing hasn’t yet made it into the Olympic programme, the outdoors is playing a key role in the global picture that will be painted of our country this summer.  That has to be good news for the outdoor industry, but it will only be of lasting benefit to us if we build our own legacy on the back of it.  Every company and organisation in our sector can, and should, play their own role in that, and the OIA is already working hard to lead on behalf of the industry.

We are continuing our efforts to engage with government and push the outdoors agenda on the national political stage.  We are building a coalition of individuals and organisations who share our ambition, including influential politicians at ministerial level.  We will all work together to raise the profile of the outdoors, encouraging more of the British people to go outside and explore the wonderful countryside and coastline that surrounds them.  It is in this context that the momentum behind our planned ‘Britain on Foot’ campaign is gathering real pace, but we still have much work to do.  The additional awareness of the UK’s outdoor assets that the Olympics is generating can really help, but only as long as we all use it as leverage to further our cause.

Please join the OIA in helping to make that desired legacy a reality.  If you, or your company, is an association member, get involved in our many initiatives.  If you are not a member, join today and become part of a very special project that has the potential to benefit the whole outdoor sector in the UK, and indeed the wider population as well.

Andrew Denton,

Chief executive,

The Outdoor Industries Association.