The Great Debate UK

from Business Traveller:

Will the London Olympics kill tourism?

This week I have been looking ahead to next year’s Olympics from a travel perspective.

The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), which routinely terrifies Olympic host cities with head-turning shock figures, brought out a survey last week suggesting leading inbound operators are seeing an average 90 percent downturn in bookings during the London 2012 Games.

ETOA worries that UK businesses are basing their plans on vastly inflated visitor numbers and the city will suffer financially like previous host cities.

Doom-mongers love figures like this: It adds fuel to predictions of traffic gridlock; spectator stampedes on tube stations; and terrorism threats. Discussing the matter at a trade event on Tuesday in London, Ken Robinson CBE, former chairman of English Tourism Alliance, expressed amusement at the idea of London not being able to handle the Games. London is a big city, he said, well used to holding big events.

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