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Sutcliffe meets with airline and business executives on business trip to London

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Ottawa Tourism president and CEO Michael Crockatt in London during a trade mission. (Mark Sutcliffe/X) Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Ottawa Tourism president and CEO Michael Crockatt in London during a trade mission. (Mark Sutcliffe/X)
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Mayor Mark Sutcliffe met with airline industry executives in London on Monday, as he continues his trade mission to promote the capital as a tourism destination.

Sutcliffe has joined officials from Ottawa Tourism and Invest Ottawa for the trip to the United Kingdom, where he will be a speaker at the SportsPro Live 2024 conference on Tuesday.

On Monday, Sutcliffe said he met with airline industry executives to "support the Ottawa Airport's efforts to attract more flights" between Ottawa and Europe.

"I hear often from Ottawa residents and business owners that they want more direct flights to international destinations, including London," Sutcliffe said on social media. "It’s a long-term process but we hope to make some progress in the months ahead."

There is currently one direct flight from Ottawa to Europe. Air France continues to expand its service between the Ottawa Airport and Paris.

Sutcliffe was criticized on social media earlier this month when he announced plans to join Ottawa Tourism on the trade mission, saying he would be running in the London Marathon.

The mayor completed the London Marathon on Sunday in just over four hours. On Saturday, Sutcliffe posted photos on social media spending time at the Ottawa Race Weekend booth at the London Marathon Race Expo.

Ottawa Tourism said it was covering the cost of Sutcliffe's travel and accommodations while in London for the business trip. Sutcliffe said he would pay for any expenses related to the marathon.

Ottawa Tourism told CTV News Ottawa they invited Sutcliffe on the trip, "which will allow for him to engage directly with key stakeholders through targeted meetings and networking opportunities."

"Ottawa Tourism continues its efforts in business development within key international markets to promote Canada’s capital as a prime destination for business and leisure travel," Ottawa Tourism said in a statement.

"This year's mission to the UK, Ottawa’s top overseas market, will last 4 days/3 nights and aims to provide opportunities for our delegation to join forces and meet with new and existing contacts to encourage business in our destination, from meetings and conventions to major events, tour operators, and beyond.

"The focus is to highlight Ottawa's strengths as a destination to business and leisure travellers, as well as its potential for economic development and event hosting."

Sutcliffe is scheduled to speak at the SportsPro Live conference on Tuesday, with the topic, 'How Ottawa became a major sports hub.'

The SportsPro Live website says Sutcliffe will discuss Ottawa's approach to hosting major events and what the plans are for the future.

The mayor said he's also using the trip to London to meet with the executives of international companies that have a "significant presence in Ottawa", to encourage them to "invest more in the growth of those companies in Ottawa."

This is Sutcliffe's second international trip as Mayor of Ottawa. Last June, Sutcliffe joined Ottawa Tourism on a trade mission to Paris.

Former Mayor Jim Watson led trade missions to the Netherlands, Beijing and India.

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