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Tourism chiefs welcome London Olympic bid

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Tourism chiefs have welcomed London’s official entry into the race to hold the 2012 Olympics.

Chief executive of Visit London, David Campbell, said the overall benefits would be enormous: “Getting the Olympics would be great for London, great for Britain and great for our image abroad.

“There’s the direct financial boost to tourism income, which could be as much as £2bn, but also a longer-term legacy in that London would have a fantastic opportunity to showcase everything the city has to offer to a worldwide audience. It’s the kind of marketing opportunity money can’t buy.”

VisitBritain said the 2003 Commonwealth Games generated 300,000 extra visitors, but the Olympics could draw far more.

Stephen Dowd of The British Incoming Tour Operators Association (BITOA), however, said the year itself could show suprisingly low tourist numbers.

“Previous Games have shown that while host cities see a marked increase in tourism in the two years prior to holding the Olympics and the four to six years after, the actual year of the event can see a decrease in tourism as people shy away from visiting the city,” he said.

“Hotel rooms are mass pre-booked by athletes and officials and the rest are taken up in package deals, so it’s the years after the Olympics – when people want to come and visit the legacy of the Games – that we’ll really see a considerable boost in visits.”

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Tourism chiefs have welcomed London’s official entry into the race to hold the 2012 Olympics.
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