Olympic Games unlikely to boost UK tourism

In 2012 we will welcome two of the biggest UK events in decades, however the country is unlikely to see a boost in the number of tourists visiting the UK next year.

 

In June celebrations will commence for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the Olympic Games will take place in July and August, however according to VisitBritain neither of these big events will product a significant boom in tourism from overseas.

 

The UK tourist authority has predicted that 30.7million travellers will head to Britain next year – around the same amount of tourists recorded from the past 12 months.

 

Authorities have blamed the Olympics for the expected tourism figures, stating that would-be tourists see the event as much a turn-off as others see it as a reason to travel.

 

Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain said: “History tells you (the Olympic Games) have displacement effect in the year of the event. Lots of people say: ‘I’ll give it a miss’”.

 

The challenge for us is to counter the displacement effect with an active marketing programme to encourage people to consider Britain in 2012”.

 

A £100million marketing fund to boost tourism has been announced by the Government, even though the economic benefit of next year’s 30.7million tourists is expected to be only £17.6million.

 

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said: “While these (visitor) figures are in line with expected numbers in 2011, maintaining current visitor levels would be a good outcome in a year that is proving difficult to predict due to the current global economic climate and the impact this may have in many of our key markets”.

 

She added: “Visit Britain is working hard to ensure that the Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations will generate positive PR for Britain, taking advantage of the global interest and creating a lasting tourism legacy for the future”.

 

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh