The Olympics Effect

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Tower Bridge with Olympic rings

How long did the Olymoics affect last?

There is an interesting report from the Library of the House of Commons which has analysed the tourism industry and suggests that the effect of the Olympics in 2012 was nowhere near as long lasting as some suggested. The government, both Labour and Coalition, and Visit Britain both suggested that the effect could have carried forward after 2012 but the report shows that, in 2013, there was hardly any growth.

In 2011 there was 9% growth compared to 2010 (but we were exiting the worst economic malaise for a while) and a 5% growth in 2012 over 2011.  Forecasts by many (but not the European Tour Operators Association as I remember which warned of a possible slump) were that the knock-on effect t would last longer which was the opposite of what seems to have happened after almost every other recent Olympics.

Nonetheless, growth of 14% was achieved between 2008 and 2013 but how has that compared to other destinations? Not that well. Croatia and Turkey have had much higher rates of growth but then they started from smaller numbers. Should Visit Britain be satisfied with those levels given its “Great” campaign and the fact that it has had so many high profile sporting events plus a jubilee and a royal marriage all of which received massive world-wide coverage?

Still the report also shows that Employment in tourism has grown by 5.4% since 2009, compared with 2.8% growth in total employment and that 2.8 million people were employed in tourism. The industry growth has also outstripped other industries. Yet we still have no tourism minister of cabinet rank or even one who concentrates on tourism alone. Remember David Cameron pointing out how important tourism was?  I’m not convinced that the government really understands how very important it is to economic growth.

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