Britain strives to secure boost from Olympics
Posted Sunday, August 12 2012 at 20:30
- Recession-hit nation unlikely to have benefited much from the Games
With the London Olympics wrapping up, analysts say Britain’s recession-hit economy is unlikely to have won a major boost from the Games that have been a triumph for the nation’s athletes.
While Britain’s construction sector benefited hugely before the Olympics, experts say the 17-day sporting spectacle has not delivered significant financial rewards and neither is it expected to in the months and years ahead.
Ms Mary Rance, chief executive of tourism body UKinbound, says the Olympics — which have cost British taxpayers £9.3 billion (about Sh1.2 trillion) to stage — have failed to lift her sector.
“From a positive perspective, the Olympics have been a catalyst for huge investment in infrastructure in London,” Rance said.
But she added: “All the signs are that the Olympics have not delivered additional visitors to London and the UK. In fact, it is expected that numbers may well end up having fallen by well over 30 per cent.”
Following claims in the first few days of the Games that they had turned London into a ghost town, British Prime Minister David Cameron urged people to “come back into the capital.”
And his words seem to have made an impact, with retailers across London’s main shopping district in and around Oxford Street reporting an increase in sales and a higher footfall in the days after Cameron’s remarks.
In the run-up to the Olympics, which began on July 27, commuters and tourists were warned to stay away amid fears that London’s transport system could not cope with millions of extra people descending on the capital. (AFP)