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Olympics Sends London Tourists Fleeing

Repeated warnings of Olympic traffic and skyrocketing hotel prices have spearheaded a tremendous drop in tourists frequenting the UK capital.

Repeated warnings of Olympic traffic and skyrocketing hotel prices have spearheaded a tremendous drop in tourists frequenting the UK capital.

Local business owners are also in tiff over the execution of Olympic commerce as tourists pass over local shops and make a beeline straight for the events. London tourist sites and shopping attractions have been eerily quiet for the size of such an event as the Olympics. Those who aren’t interesting in the athletic events have opted to remain home until the commotion dies down.

The Olympics were projected to increase revenue for the suffering economy, but quite the opposite has been the case since the Olympics began. European Tour Operators Association chief executive Tom Jenkins said, “London has approximately 300,000 foreign and 800,000 domestic visitors every day in August. These people have been told implicitly that they should stay away and they have done so.”

It will not be known how many tourists London has missed out on until the warnings are lifted by Transport for London, the maintenance body of road and rail ways in the capital.

Roughly 500,000 Olympic ticket holders have since replaced the missing tourists, but most of these individuals are locals and in effect, have no desire to sightsee, dine out, buy souvenirs and contribute to the city’s economy.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, stated, “”Our business is down by about 20-40 percent depending on the time of day. Normally about 90 percent of our customers are Londoners, but they’ve all left the city and haven’t been replaced by tourists. I don’t know where all these tourists are or how they’re getting about, but London is like a ghost town.”

The British government is hoping to obtain deals worth roughly £14bn over the Olympics paid out in the next 2 to three years. The Olympics are costing roughly £9.3bn to stage.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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