Is Olympic Gold a Real Possible?

Jan 31st, 2012 | By | Category: Featured London Article

The coming of the 2012 London Olympics has buoyed London considerably and has been hailed as the light at the end of the tunnel for the recession. The games have brought about the regeneration of Stratford, one of London’s less affluent districts; created jobs for thousands; boosted UK morale; and predicted a huge cash injection from the thousands of tourists visiting the event. However, could this maybe be too good to be true and is it possible that we could be in an Olympics’ bubble?

 

The Olympics will undoubtedly bring a surfeit of tourists and with them the boost to our economy through hotel bookings and the support of London businesses, but the Olympics could have a knock on effect on tourism throughout the year. The best time to visit London is in the summer, when Britain’s infamously drab weather gives way to Pimms and strawberries on tennis lawns (at least some of the time it does). The summer tourism boom is so important in fact, that David Cameron has changed daylight savings time to make British summer last that little bit longer, to eke more cash from visitors. Logically, with the influx from summer tourism and the Olympics, this should be a boom year for Britain. However, organising committee for the games, Locog, have admitted that they overestimated the number of hotel rooms set aside for officials media and sponsors, numbering 600,000 nights’ worth.

 

Recognising that this was an error Locog have handed back 120,000 of the nights, to be sold to tourists, although the damage may already be done. As a result of the early reservations, accommodation rates have risen, and tourists who would usually visit in the summer months have been put off by high prices, leaving an estimate of 1 million beds unsold. Touring companies who usually operate in London have also felt the pinch and are moving their business to Europe where the rates are lower. Locog were warned that releasing reserved rooms at a late date would not be enough to increase the numbers sold, and a loss of £3.5 billion is estimated over the Olympics period, which is quite a different picture from what Londoners have been led to believe.

 

However, the promise of Olympic prosperity may still ring true, with a high demand for hotel rooms (with a recent 464% increase in hotel searches from Russia alone), and reassuring expectations from VisitBritain, the leading British tourist authority, we may be able to expect Olympic gold still.

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