UK to suffer drop in visitor numbers during 2012 Olympics

Hotel News - 13/09/2010

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Some 320,000 visitors from abroad are expected to travel to the UK in 2012 to see the London Olympics during the months of July and August. However, this may not be sufficient to offset a bigger drop in visitor numbers expected elsewhere in Britain.

The focus in 2012 on the London Olympics is a key factor expected to put off large numbers of tourist who would otherwise have come to the UK that year. Prospective visitors are also expected to be deterred by the high prices anticipated during the Olympic Games.

Some 28 million foreign tourists visited the UK last year. The UK is anticipating long-term benefits from the international exposure generated by hosting the London Olympics. Other countries, however, have seen their hosting of Olympic Games result in large numbers of tourists opting to avoid higher prices for flights and hotels, as well as the increased summer crowds.

The UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, is planning to leverage the Olympic Games as a way to promote all of Britain overseas. The agency has established a panel of experts to deal with the issue and make sure the predicted £2.1 billion tourism windfall is realised. The agency will urge ministers to set aside some of the billions collected every year from air-passenger tax to support the UK’s tourism industry.

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