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No gold medal for tourism in U.K.


February 16. 2013 4:09PM


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LONDON — The Olympics brought less tourist money to recession-hit Britain than businesses had hoped for, a trade group said Monday, with a majority of tourist companies reporting losses from last year.


A survey of more than 250 tour operators, hoteliers and visitor attractions found that tourist traffic fell all over Britain, not just London, said UKinbound, a leading trade association representing British tour operators and other businesses dependent on tourists.


"A lot of people thought London would be very busy and very expensive at this time," said Mary Rance, the group's chief executive. "We weren't completely surprised but we were a bit disappointed that (the Olympics) seem to have had an impact around the U.K., not just London."


The group's survey said that of its members, 88 percent reported some losses during the games compared to the same period last year. The businesses reported that visitor numbers were down by 10 to 30 percent compared to last year, Rance said.


Officials are still tallying up the total number of tourists who came to — or avoided — London this summer. The capital normally sees about 1.5 million tourists on average in August, and it's not yet clear if that is up or down this year.


The official visitor figures won't be available until September.


Tourism officials say that international Olympics visitors to London, including athletes, officials and tourists, totaled about 300,000. Domestic spectators from Britain made up the majority of people visiting games venues.


Restaurants and shops have complained that these games visitors did not spend as much money on food and shopping as typical summer tourists.




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