Once home to the busiest port in the world, East London's visitor economy and world reputation has been massively boosted by the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, a huge urban regeneration project that has changed the face of the once famously working-class "East End" of London. Thanks to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park reopening, the area now offers a massive range of dramatic new East London event venues, including cultural and media centers, sports parks and outdoor arenas. Joining these will be scores of new bars, uber-cool restaurants, hotels and nightclubs. (The adjacent Westfield Shopping Mall is already London's largest single-site retail center.)
London City Airport, one of Europe's busiest business airports (with more than 200 flights a day to over 30 European and domestic destinations), is based at East London's Docklands; the highly efficient Docklands Light Railway also helps to bring millions of passengers to East London each year. Crossrail, the new East-West rail system will further enhance access to East London when it is fully commissioned in 2016.
Prior to the latest round of development, the recent regeneration of the Docklands has been an unrivalled success. The twin skyscraper towers in Canary Wharf, now one of Europe's fastest growing financial and business districts, have changed the London skyline and brought about one of the largest venues in East London, ExCeL London. Based in the heart of Docklands, ExCeL London is a huge and highly successful international exhibition and convention center, just a 30-minute journey from central London and minutes from London City Airport. Its many and highly flexible auditoriums can accommodate between 1,000 and 5,000 delegates; its banqueting halls can serve 3,000 guests; its conference suites can hold 2,500 delegates and its 968,760 square feet of exhibition space can stage all types of exhibitions and events. The adjacent new International Convention Centre (ICC London ExCeL) also provides a huge, high-tech 5,000-seat arena with 17 meeting rooms and access to 1,076,400 square feet of hall space.
Special event venues in East London feature O2 Arena, Europe's largest and most successful music and entertainment venue, with tiered seating for 20,000 delegates or smaller rooms for between 1,000 and 8,000 guests. IndigO2 is a self–contained, 2,400-capacity conference center within the O2 complex.
While East London has retained its true character and pattern of neighborhoods, the massively successful Canary Wharf World Business Centre and the 2012 Olympic Park have transformed its fortunes and London's skyline forever. Canary Wharf financial district boasts a host of stylish bars, restaurants and pubs, as well as five on-site hotels offering over 10,000 nearby guest rooms. Traditional markets, such as Spitalfields, are now multi-cultural arts and cultural centers, offering world dance, theater, music and film, making this one of the most vibrant parts of London, noted for its strong community spirit.