British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has been called “the undisputed king” of publicity stunts, and has guaranteed he won’t disappoint when he comes to Vancouver later this month.
From slinging seductress Dita Von Teese over his shoulder to driving a tank down Fifth Avenue in New York City, Branson has never been one to pass up an opportunity to get attention for his brands.
“Our inaugural trips for Atlantic flights are always great fun with parties, interesting people and usually a stunt or two,” the charismatic magnate told told Metro via email of his upcoming trip to celebrate Virgin Atlantic‘s first flight here from London, England.
“The plan is a pretty well kept secret until the last minute to surprise our new destination.”
It was August the last time Branson visited Vancouver, and he said he’s looking forward to returning twice more this year thanks to the city’s memorable scenery, people and hyper-green politics. The Virgin Group chairman will speak to the Vancouver Board of Trade May 25, and in October he’ll be the featured speaker at the Surrey Economic Summit.
“I think Vancouver is a beautiful city that is trying to lead the way in environmental policy and planning: One of the key reasons why we launched the Green City Challenge (there) a few years ago,” he said, referring to a 15-city international competition he launched at the 2010 Olympics to encourage private-sector loans and investment in carbon-reducing schemes.
“On a personal level, I have always found it a welcoming place,” he added.
With the winner of the Green City Challenge set to be announced at this summer’s London Olympics, his upcoming visit will be local politicians’ last chance to make Vancouver’s case for the award — which would fit in nicely with its goal of becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020.
Despite his adventurous reputation, Branson said he’s not expecting to do much sightseeing while he’s here from May 24 to 26, but if he had more time he would head straight for Vancouver Island or to the mountains.
The Board of Trade event sold-out quickly, but due to demand additional seats have just been added. Register at www.boardoftrade.com.