ETOA outlines impact of Olympics on tourism

ETOA outlines impact of Olympics on tourism

The European Tour Operators Association is advising London hoteliers not to overestimate the number of foreign arrivals for the 2012 Olympics. In a seminar yesterday, ETOA’s Tom Jenkins, Total Revenue Solution’s Jennifer Keen and Visit London’s Martine Ainsworth-Wells discussed the potential pitfalls of the upcoming event and how the British travel trade should address the issues. Previous Olympic hosts have substantially overestimated the number of arrivals and the number of hotel rooms that needed to be allocated. In 2008, Beijing anticipated 400,000 foreign guests and received only 235,000 throughout the month of August. In addition, Research from Visit London shows there is a danger of displacement before and after the games, with some potential visitors admitting they would steer clear of London throughout the year due to the anticipated crowds and price hikes. “Some 50-60% of respondents to our research said they hadn’t yet decided whether to come to London for the games so this means there’s plenty of room for scope,” explained Ainsworth-Wells. “We’re aware of the problem and we are the first city to tackle it. I think it’s vital that we promote everything London has to offer that year aside from the Olympics. All festivals and promotions need to be publicized- the city has so much more to offer.” She added that this type of promotion would also encourage non sports fans to visit the city’s cultural heritage despite the Olympics. Meanwhile Keen pointed out that the city must only boost its revenues in line with demand. “in the 18 month run up to the Olympics we may see some panic. It’s possible that rates may rise and fall when occupancy rates aren’t fulfilled,” she explained. “However, tour operators can help hotels gain a greater share with creative packaging and pre booked additional add ons. In addition hotels must ensure they have a revenue management system in place, optimize all aspects of the city’s tourism and don’t just focus on the games.”

Gary Marshall
Written by:
Gary Marshall
Posted On:
Posted In: