Will Visitors Stay Away?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

London 2012, attraction or turn-off

London 2012, attraction or turn-off

Ever since we screamed and celebrated the winning of the Olympics for London in 2012, it has been portrayed as a good thing and a great achievement for us. At every opportunity politicians and the authority running them have fed us a diet of great it will be.
One organisation, as you might remember, has taken a different view.
As CD-Traveller wrote earlier this year, ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) has said that, unless we are careful, we will attract fewer visitors. Now they have some research done over the weekend that throws some light on the attitudes of those who sell us their attractions.
ETOA members include hotel chains, attractions, city river cruises, theatres and companies who bring tourists in from outside Europe. Two thirds of those asked said that they expected business to fail in London by a third during the time of the Olympics. For the rest of England they thought the drop might be as high as 17%. For Wales it was a drop of 20% but the effect on Scotland might be muted. But France, Belgium and Netherlands may benefit from our loss, they are all forecast to get more tourists.
Why should all this be so?
Because overseas visitors – and those living outside the M25- think London will be crowded and difficult to get around. To many the Olympics act as a deterrent to visiting.
ETOA is upbeat saying that we have 21 months to get the message across that people should still visit London and the UK. Countries winning the Olympics have overstated the number of visitors. Why should London be any different? And how do you tell people that they should still come when the perceptions tell them differently?
If they don’t come we will all suffer because tourism is a considerable employer and a substantial source of tax revenues. If this isn’t managed properly, can London affiord to lose just under a third of its visitors and England, just under a fifth?

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