Olympics Could Be Bad For Tourist Numbers

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 101 months ago
Olympics Could Be Bad For Tourist Numbers

Anyone concerned about not being able to move in London during the Olympics might be interested to hear that the three previous host cities received significantly fewer visitors than expected during the Games. Figures from the European Tour Operators Association show that Sydney planned for 132,000 visitors and got 97,000; Athens planned for 105,000 per night but actually got 14,000, and Beijing got over 150,000 fewer visitors than anticipated for the whole of August.

Perhaps tourists expect these cities will be nightmarishly busy and expensive so, unless they are coming specifically for the sport, stay away. People with tickets to events will likely spend most of their time around Stratford - it's possible that around the West End we might not actually notice much difference from a usual summer.

Visit Britain has £1bn to spend on marketing and PR to capitalise on the Olympics spotlight, and also to reassure overseas visitors that the UK, and London, is very much open for business. But looking at these numbers, while the hospitality industry is already working out how to capitalise on a good Games, we might not actually be clawing our way onto the Northern line just to get to work.

Last Updated 28 September 2010