Data on the impact of the Olympics on the UK economy continues to trickle in.
The Office of National Statistics reported this week that overseas residents completed an estimated 3.2 million visits to the UK in July 2012, a fall of 5 per cent compared with a year earlier. Earnings at £2.0 billion, were down 6 per cent.
The London Olympics opened on 27 July and closed on 12 August. Most visits to the UK for the Olympics will have been completed in August and will therefore not be reflected in this July publication.
Retailers should have anticipated the fall in sales
Hugh Robertson, Olympics minister, said: “The London Games were won seven years ago. We have all known that this was coming. There has been ample time to plan for it.” ref
Back on 1st August Hugh Robertson told BBC London News: “I would just say gently to anybody involved in the retail sector or the hotel sector, this is hardly a surprise. It has not been a great secret.
“The London Games were won seven years ago. We have all known that this was coming. There has been ample time to plan for it.”
Lord Bradford, the chairman of the Restaurant Association, said: “He is obviously not a businessman or presumably he has never been in business himself to say something like that. How are you supposed to prepare for something like this?”
Locog, the company running the Games, today released figures showing that traffic in central London is down 17 per cent on its normal levels since the start of the Olympics last week.” ref
Lower than expected demand for hotel rooms
“Alison Couper, senior director of global communications at Hotels.com, said that demand from tourists has not been as strong as hoped. She also said that many businesses banned travel to London during the games on the basis of price and security.
She also said that rooms block-booked months ago by organiser LOCOG have been released back into the market as they were not used.
“There is certainly quite a good amount of availability still. Initially LOGOC procured a lot of hotel rooms right at the start for officials, the media and the Olympic family but they then started releasing them.” ref.