The number of tourists visiting London in 2012 will fall because of the Olympics.
The Government claims that the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic games could draw and extra four million visitors to our shores in 2012, but a survey by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) claims different.
Looking back at the last six host cities, including Sydney and Athens, there was major disruption to the normal tourism market.
Beijing hosted the Olympics in 2008 and saw visitor numbers plummet by 30% in the month leading up to the games. In the months that followed tourist numbers were 20% lower than previous years over the same period.
2008 was a bad year for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, and Beijing fared considerably worse than the rest of China.
If London was to follow the same pattern it could see 2.5 million fewer visitors at a loss of £1.5bn to London and up to £3.5bn for the whole of the British economy.
The ETOA survey gathered information from 38 different tour operators responsible for bringing more than two million tourists to London, which revealed a 95% year-on-year nose dive in booking for the duration of the Olympics, 60% lower for the periods either side of the event and 20% for the rest of the year.
Tom Jenkins, executive direct of the ETOA said that high hotel prices were to blame.
He said: “We always see a decline in demand for a destination during an Olympic year,” adding: “During the Olympic period itself, there is currently almost no demand from regular tourists.”
In Beijing hotel rooms were up to 10 times more expensive, and already many hotels in London are two or three times more expensive than normal for July and August next year.
However, tourism in Scotland may in fact see a boost to its industry from visitors looking to get away from the crowds and over-inflated prices.
VisitScotland will be tactically targeting the south-east of England, and capitalise on its Surprise Yourself campaign, which has snared an extra £90m for the Scottish economy. But Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau said that any negative impact on tourism in London it will translate reduced numbers heading north of the border, and will be felt all across Scotland.
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