Inbound operators re-think Olympic policies as ‘interest grows’

Inbound operators re-think Olympic policies as ‘interest grows’

Inbound visitors to the UK are being drawn to the Olympic host cities, according to new figures from VisitBritain. Newly released research has found that while London and Edinburgh continue to be popular destinations for inbound visits, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Windsor have seen tourism numbers boost ahead of next year’s games.

However, it could be argued that some of these locations have seen a boost in air traffic or flights in comparison to last year.

“It is clear that next year presents us with some real opportunities to showcase Britain to new audiences around the world,” said Patricia Yates, strategy and communications director for VisitBritain.

Meanwhile, inbound tour operators are said to be adapting their policies after an ETOA report indicated that leisure bookings are down 95% for summer 2012 compared to this year. While the statistics could be said to reflect the last minute booking trend, Mario Bodini, chief executive of JacTravel told Travel Daily the situation is likely to mirror other major sporting event host countries such as South Africa.

“Common sense dictates that if other destinations see a dip, then why would London be different,” he explained. “We are currently re-selling rooms sold a year ago as they [agents and partners] didn’t sell them”.

Bodini expressed surprise that the corporate market for the Olympics was bigger than he thought and claimed domestic tourism would be a ‘phenomenon’ during the games.

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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