Monday, 20 September 2010


Sebastian Coe’s prediction of a huge boost to tourism in London could be drastically wide of the mark, according to precedents of Sydney, Athens, and Beijing.

The last three Olympic venues anticipated far larger numbers of tourists than, in fact, there actually were.

And when you think about it, of course, it is not particularly surprising. Unless you are directly involved in one of the sports or widely enthusiastic about it, you’d be as well to avoid the actual games. After all, in most countries, probably every country, there is first class television coverage and events can be enjoyed perhaps more clearly than from the back of a stadium.

For all the money spent on the facilities and infrastructure (and that has been a vast amount) there will always be too many people in one place at one time during events like this. In the case of London I can’t imagine that transport, for example, would be able to cope with much more in the way of numbers. The already creaking tube (metro) service will be pushed to breaking point; buses and taxis likewise.

Cost comes into it too. Every country hit by the recent financial problems is going to be making some sort of cuts. People may also wonder, given the severity of the British cuts, what they might be coming to. Travel to London may be more than people will be able to afford in 2012, and certainly the cost of staying in London is horrendously high by comparison say with Paris, Luxembourg, Edinburgh, Brussels and even Geneva. In my own experience hotels have worked out at around twice the price in London, and the service and quality of accommodation is markedly lower. Olympic organizers and Mayor Boris Johnson have an uphill struggle to convince travellers that London will be affordable and they have appealed to hotels not to try and cash in by increasing their prices. However, business is business and it is bound to happen.

Other tourists tend to stay away during the period of the Olympics, anticipating that the hotels will be crowded and facilities stretched, and this affects the whole of the UK, because so many holidays begin and end in London with tours to other places, including Scotland, in between. The European Tour Operators’ Association pointed out that Athens has a far lower profile than London, yet when its visitor arrivals dropped by 6% in the Olympic year, regional Greece fell by 11%. It is not only a London problem.

Of course the Dept of Media and Sport have rubbished the worries. They say that no one seriously believes that any tourist accommodation will remain unfilled during the Games themselves. The Games, they say, are a “long-term investment in the future of Britain's visitor economy and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance the image of the UK as a visitor destination”.

But then they would, wouldn’t they?

Incidentally, has anyone heard if the Olympic Games will have to undergo a 25%-40% reduction in cost?


  1. A White Elephant from start to finish another of Jonah's curses.

    You'll be banning me shortly as a pervayer of doom but since this charade is in 2012.

  2. Nah, I'll never ban you CH. LOL

    I quite like a bit of doom you know.

    Yes, I rather suspect that, given the financial climate, the French must be rubbing their hands together with delight that it was London that got the Games and not Paris.

    Still we have the Commonwealth games in Glasgow to worry about, so I'd best not smirk!!!

  3. PS: I did try to read that earlier. There was a link to it on the last piece you sent. It was a bit too technical for me, but it does seem, from what I understood, scary!

    I hope this guy has got it all wrong. But I have to admit that I don't trust any of the world leaders, including Mr Obama, to sort this out.

    It's down to overweening greed, which may, I suspect, date back to Mrs Thatcher and Mr Reagan making it respectable to be greedy, and no one since then, really taking that philosophy head on smacking it to where it belongs!

  4. And they were talking of a state funeral for the besom! The olypmics were all about London which needed regeneration of the deprived areas and it offered the chance to get the rest of the countries to pay for it on the never never.

    2014 was again about Glasgow but should be a good celebration in an Independent coutry, won't grudge that cash.

  5. BTW...

    Apologies to everyone who was on the blog list. I had a wee accident whilst doing some housework on the blog and deleated the whole thing!! Duh!

    I'm trying to put it back, but it was quite extensive so it will take some time. If I haven't got you on it, please email me and let me know.

    Sorry again. I'm just a tad of an eejit when it comes to computers!

  6. As you say CH. We're all paying for it and I'm waiting to see the benefits that that Olympics Minister promised us.... and waiting.... and waiting..

    As for Thatcher, it is a diabolical insult to everyone whose lives and futures she ruined that Gordon Brown considered the idea of a state funeral for her.

    Another idiotic waste of money in straitened times I would have though and one for which they will need a full police force and the army to keep the crowds at bay.

    I hope, but doubt, that Camerclegg will have the good sense to reject it out of hand.

  7. Whenever I see a report about the forthcoming Olympic games, my memory tells me "THINK DOME". I do wish the French had "won" this poisoned chalice.

    My wife is already asking me to book a long holiday out of the country, preferably to a place with no TV hook up for their duration.

  8. I should think that's a plan Mr S

    The trouble would be finding a place with no TV... but then, as my father used to say....there's a switch on the set!

    Yep, I think "Dome" too. I always thought that the Dome was the Tories bad luck gift to Labour and labour's bad luck gift to the Tories is this fiasco. I have visions of the concrete still being wet and the grass just starting to grown when the athletes start to run......

    The trouble is that the Olympics is all about show business now, and show biz is so expensive. The spectacle of the opening ceremony alone will cost enough to keep an old folks home open for 10 years.

    The government will be in a quandary. It will clearly be most unpopular if they allow this expense to be outrageous at a time when everything and everyone except the super rich will be suffering. On the other hand, after the Chinese display, we can hardly expect the English to trot out Cliff Richard, Bruce Forsythe, Elton John and Shirley Bassey, always supposing they can still walk by then?

    Oh well.. if you find anywhere nice to go, let me know... won’t you?

    Oh and yes... I heard from a few of my pals in France that they are, and always were, totally delighted that the English got it.

  9. Been out with the chaps, officer training etc and let me tell you this:

    The Londom Olympics ARE JUST THAT - FOR LONDON!

    Why the flip ought my decent, military family relatives fighting, dying [as some HAVE!], and paying Englands taxes for ENGLAND to get the games?

    If we were to benefit I would be happy, but explain how?

    The only reason this shi@t doesn't make me SNP is my utter and unadultorated faith in the EU, and he mission to triumph over division, to fight against poverty, disease, illness, and seperation across our continent.

    Poverty matters, hunger matters, London , Warsaw, Belgrade or CONSTANTINOPLE!

  10. London Olympics, paid for by taxes from all over the country, charity from the lottery, meaning less for the rest of the country and a small levy on the London council tax.

    But all the benefit has gone to London. The work has gone mainly to London firms, employing London labour. The infrastructural improvements have been to London and whatever happens to tourism, London will fare least badly out of it.

    As for a bonus in sport facilities and training... all I see are facilities closing or being put on hold. Nothing new happening here.

    A pile of lies peddled by Labour and Tories.

    Like you Dean, I'd like to see where the legacy from the games is going to help the lads in say Lewis, or Shetland.

  11. Absolutely,

    May have had a tibble last night, but the point remains as you said Tris. Why is Wales, Scotland, Lancaster, Yorkshire helping to subsidise a London event?

  12. I was wondering what I had done to offend you...

  13. Hello Conan

    You only ever make me laugh. So, I'm sorry about the slip of the fingers and you will be restored to your rightful place very shortly. I did start with the process last night, but it's a long job and I got sleepy.

    It's easy to do. I was removing one particularly offensive blogger and whooosh... all of them had gone.

    So no, no one offended me (well, one person did, but it surely wasn't you).

    I hope you are feeling a bit better now. Loss can be awful and completely disheartening, but time heals as it must. Get better soon.

  14. Dean...

    Erm, yes, you did rather old thing.... but well, what can one say? You Tories and your Pimms, huh?

    I hope you have a suitably sore head this morning? <;¬))

  15. ...Tuesday now and it still hurts! [Or was that the Oban 12 from last night?]

  16. Och you poor wee soul...

    Get some Vit C tablet and go to the gym. Works a treat!!