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Tourism

London2012 tourism - Hark, now hear the sailors cry...

First lies, then farce. After all the self-serving lies about the benefits of London2012 comes the claim from the British Marine Federation that the annual contribution of UK boating tourism in 2013-2013 outweighed the 'total tourism impact of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games between 2005 and 2017 (including pre-Games visits, the Games themselves and the estimated ongoing Legacy effect).'


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The sterile pleasure garden

A view across the Olympic ParkA view across the Olympic ParkI visited the recently opened part of the Olympic Park on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year to have a look around. It took a while to take it all in. My most surprising discovery was the almost complete absence of any visible wild life. Apart from pigeons in transit across the space I saw only one wild bird in the three hours I was there. It was probably some kind of Reed Warbler. Hardly surprising given the sheer volume of reeds planted alongside the river. There were small numbers of Damsel Flies, again not surprising given their mobility along the river.


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legacy lego

Back in 2006 the Media Centre was relocated to Hackney Wick. Its legacy languishing, in 2011 someone had the bright idea of an indoor ski resort (see In search of legacies lost).


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Cuckoo! Swiss say No to Winter Olympics

'No voters rejected bid organisers' claims that Olympic hosting would help tourism in the area and boost the local economy.' Those sensible Swiss from the Graubünden canton have seen through the lies of the Olympics and said no to the Winter Olympics in 2022. Bern voters did the same thing when they refused to bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.


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More Olympics effects - amnesia, anticipation, non-materialisation

The Olympics amnesia effect kicks in again. The Press reports another Olympic ’success’ story, this time it’s Heathrow, which saw profits rise in the ‘Olympic year’ along with the number of passengers. CEO Brian Matthews declared ‘We gave a warm welcome and a smooth journey to thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes’.


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2012 - a year of challenges or opportunities?

Apparently theatre in London had a bad Olympics, although this was buried under a headline of theatre 'holding up in Olympic year' and some good news about a rise in ticket sales for the year as a whole. At the end of January, AP reported the Society of London Theatre as saying that sales and attendance had dropped during the summer Games, described as a 'dampening effect', but this was played down as, it was claimed, it had not been as bad as some had feared. However, no specific information was provided to show how bad it really was during the Olympics.


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London tourists aren't smiling

Will tourists be returning to London after their experience of the Olympics? Maybe not. Apparently visitors to London did not find the city friendly despite all the adoring coverage of Games Makers overcoming London's unfriendly image. It was also not found to be clean, safe and definitely not good value for money by comparison with rival destinations.


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Olympics end but security stays the same

The Olympic Park remains a high security paranoia zone. It is still surrounded by the perimeter fence, although hopefully the electricity has been turned off. Anyone wishing to join an LLDC tour is sent a long list of IDs which visitors have to present before they can get on a bus. Bizarrely the A list includes a Freedom Pass alongside passports (with visas if needed!) and a variety of warrant cards. The B list includes birth, adoption and marriage certificates which are considered to be of equal value to a utility bill. Why it should be necessary to produce this kind of ID to be allowed on a bus (you’re not allowed to get off the bus) to go around the Park is unclear. But then these things have just become ‘normal’ now!


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ONS - 'Not possible to quantify the overall impact of the Olympics'!

Further to the Olympicsboostsh*t report on Games Monitor the rise in GDP was declared to be 1% not 0.7%. When it announced the figures the BBC reported the ONS as saying that 'beyond the effect of ticket sales, it was hard to put an exact figure on the Olympic effect, although it cited increased hotel and restaurant activity in London as well as strength from employment agencies.' This last statement is interesting as it is reported there was a decline in tourism numbers and in hotel occupancy but this was made up for with a rise in room yields because prices had been jacked up in anticipation of a tourism feast. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) had reported a plunge in visitors to attractions all over the UK during the summer, including the Olympics period.

The ONS makes a guarded statement about online retail sales where others were more outspoken about the decline. Retailers and restaurants were complaining at the start of the Games at the decline in customers and demanded TfL alter its transport advice and these impacts continued to be felt in particular areas like Greenwich and Leyton. The ONS stated that it had fixed Olympics ticket sales in the figures for this quarter even though the sales had actually occurred in previous months.

Statements from the ONS include a lot of possibles, mays, mights and 'no direct evidence':

*Employment agencies showed some strength in the quarter and it is possible that some of this strength was related to the Olympics. However, there was no direct evidence from survey respondents to support this

*Office administration: office administration was quite strong in the quarter but the evidence on any Olympic effect was mixed, with some respondents suggesting that it may have had an adverse effect, as opposed to explaining the strength

*Creative arts and entertainment activities: the arts and entertainment sector has been showing some strength for some time, with quite strong growth in the most recent quarter. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics

*Accommodation: hotels showed greater activity in the quarter and this was one area where one might expect to see an Olympic effect, albeit mainly in London. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics

*Food and beverage services: there was some strength in the food and drink sector and some evidence from survey returns that part of this might have been due to the Olympics

*Land transport: there was some strength in parts of the transport sector and some evidence from survey returns that this might have been due to the Olympics

*Retail: retail showed some strength in the quarter but there was very little evidence of any significant Olympic effect. Indeed there was some feedback from online retailers that sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online

*Motion picture, video and TV programme production: the data here were quite weak for the quarter and there was some evidence from survey respondents to support this weakness - 'people watching the Olympics instead'


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Lame Duckweed clearance for tourist barges on Lee Navigation

 An elevator on the front of the weed cleaning blue boat attempts to remove Duckweed. An elevator on the front of the weed cleaning blue boat attempts to remove Duckweed.


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