Published on Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The truth: Olympics will NOT bring more visitors to UK


VisitBritain has today admitted that the London 2012 Olympics will not boost UK visitor numbers next year.

Even though Britain will also celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, VisitBritain said it expects visitor numbers to remain the same as this year.

The tourist authority forecast 30.7m arrivals next year, bringing in a total of £17.6m.

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said:  “While these figures are in line with expected numbers in 2011, maintaining current visitor levels would be a good outcome in a year that is proving difficult to predict due to the current global economic climate and the impact this may have in many of our key markets."

Dawe pointed out that the UK should see a record number of holiday visits this year, although the business travel market is down, which he said could fall further if the economy worsens.

Nevertheless, Dawe said hosting the Olympics would still be a bonus for UK tourism.

“2012 gives us an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Britain in a way that we have never had before, allowing us to revitalise our appeal in mature markets and help us get Britain on the destination wish list of first time visitors from growth markets such as Brazil, China, India and Russia," he said.

Dawe said VisitBritain and its commercial partners had put together a "fantastic range of deals" to entice visitors in 2012, which will be supported by its largest ever image campaign. Of the 8.8m Olympic tickets, 1m have been sold in overseas markets.

 “VisitBritain is working hard to ensure that the Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations will generate positive PR for Britain, taking advantage of the global interest to increase tourism numbers in the years ahead and creating a lasting tourism legacy for the future,” he added.

The tourist authority said it was working closely with the tourism industry to "counteract any short-term impact" that might be caused by hosting the Games and it is looking at how it can help tackle the issue of displacement of overseas visitors.

*Do you think the Olympic Games will turn out to be A Good Thing for British tourism, or a waste of public money? Have your say by clicking on the comment button below

By Linsey McNeill

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  • Time will Tell

    The problem with events like the Olympics are that they disrupt the usual business cycles and once disrupted there is no guarantee that they will return. The meeting always held in London gets displaced to Manchester or Milan and may stay there for the following years; on the other hand a worldwide global TV audience will, with luck, see all the great London landmarks bathed in sunshine and will hopefully create a desire to visit at some time in the future. Having been at the games in Seoul and Barcelona and also at the Soccer World Cups in Italy and France I come down on the negative side and don't think events like this are really worth the effort that countries put into winning them. This Olympics will, I suspect, be a success as an event but because of the global economic situation it will be less successful as a long term visitor draw. By the time most people have the money and inclination to travel again there will probably have been another Olympics. One thing is certain - that the Jubilee and the Olympics look like being two good news stories in what is shaping up to be a rather gloomy year, and that can't do UK plc any harm.

    By Martin Drew, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

  • It's Big Business

    Years ago I was told that sport was the biggest business sector on earth. From the few rupees to rent a squash court in Lahore to the thousands of pounds to keep a polo pony at Windsor; from the footwear to the shirts; from the TV Rights to the pay of tens of thouands of journalists around the world; from the equipment needed to play volleyball on the beach to what it costs to run an F1 car, this is a massive multi trillion pound industry, which is why the press are all over it. As I said earlier I have had to be at some of the big events (for work not from choice) and I am still mystified by why anyone watches sport, although I can see why they might take part. As for politicians, to paraphrase Karl Marx, Die sport ... ist das Opium des Volkes.

    By Martin Drew, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

  • Interesting...

    That, in spite of all the hype and the media preoccupation with sports - everyone who has posted here agrees that the Olympics are a complete waste of time and money. What is it about the media that they all seem to think the majority are interested in sport? Has anyone, anywhere, ever done a survey?

    By Richard English, Friday, December 23, 2011

  • The Olympic Blight

    Every city that has been unlucky enough to host the Olympics in the past 25 years has suffered a decline in tourism. We are now seeing the damage in Vancouver after having had the 2010 winter games. Tourism is down 50% from pre Olympic levels. We believe it will take 20 years to recover from this disaster. Take heart - other cities will prosper

    By Wally Martin, Thursday, December 22, 2011

  • It will cause more damage than good

    Well the Advice from the Olympic commity and tourism trade was that tourism should reduce their prices by 20%! Amazing advice to an industry which is currently struggling and working with tight margins. Unbelievable that consultants are being paid in their tens of thousands to tell the industry to make more losses. The tourism industry is likely to suffer heavily from the games, we sell product to London, this year london sales is shockingly poor, very bad sales to anything which is based in london already, only promising growth is around the days for the Diamond Jubilee. There is clearly a divide in opinion of the olympics, those who want to abuse its position and are overwhelmed by temptations of greed and those who want to run a business in a recession . The Games only seems to be benefiting London and its districts and I think the nation realises that they wont benefit from this, I think the country and its people has woken up to the realities that the money for the games should have been spent elsewhere, all that with increased budgets and patrols from our military might seems to contractict the state of the economy and the way in which the every day Jo is being treated and expected to suffer.

    By Mr X, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • Olympics

    Overall, just another under-costed and over-priced event that this country could ill afford even before things got really tough financially. Who actually believes that National Pride of holding this event will boost our Nation? Just the usual coterie of smug and self appointed guardians of our 'heritage' who will profit even despite huge over-runs of the Olympic budget.

    By john healey, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • Olympics

    But who ever thought they would bring more visitors - or cost what DCMS originally estimated? Nah, let's be Greek about it - have a great time, hang the cost, and worry about the financial hangover cure after the event. Enjoy!

    By Tom Buncle, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • What a waste of money

    &#pound;9.3 billion is a lot of money to pay for the rest of us to enjoy the priviledge of the Olympics, the benefits appear to be chaos on the transport system and gross profiteering by a few. The real benefits for UK Plc are indeed very difficult to see, the only possible benefit is that those of us unfortunate enough to live in and around London may want to book a holiday to get away from it all, at the most expensive time of the year. This has the potnetial to be a complete disaster and who pays? Yes, that's the taxpayer in London again. Sometimes politicans and those that lobby them just ought to be taken out and... , no better not say it, just look where those thoughts got Mr Clarkson!

    By Alan Bowen, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • Less Visitors

    Quelle suprise eh!!...you asked a straight question and I will give you a straight answer....Excellent waste of public money..No more no less

    By paul howgate, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • Bad Deal

    If 30.7 million arrivals only bring in &#pound;17.6million something is wrong. Are they all arriving just to collect benefits?

    By Terry Ellis, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • London Olympics

    Knowing how traffic is a nightmare over any week-end, I wouldn't want to be living, let alone visiting London at that time.

    By Richard Mandunya, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

  • Thanks goodness for a voice of reason!

    I hate sports and hate the way that sports (especially that foul and pointless game, football) take over the media, and the way that the semi-articulate utterings of footballers and other sports "stars" are paraded before us as though they had some measure of importance. The Olympics simply mean one more lot of pointless commentary about pointless activities. But there is a bright star on the horizon - there are some pretty decent cruises leaving the UK in July - I have already made my plans to be on one of them where I will be able to avoid the whole stupid and pointless day-long commentary about the Olympics.

    By Richard English, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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