The UK travel and tourism market looks set to feel the positive effect of the Olympics, having faced tough times throughout 2011, with the global economy having a negative effect on the industry. Real GDP recorded growth of 0.8%, unemployment reached its highest level since 1996 and consumer confidence remained low.
After three years of negative growth, the number of inbound visitors went up in 2011 and encouraged by the weak pound incoming tourists spent more money, with the biggest value contribution coming from North America and Europe.
The UK travel and tourism market is set for a boost due to the 2011 royal wedding and the 2012 Queen's Jubilee and Olympic Games by throwing the spotlight on Great Britain's historical and cultural heritage in a bid to showcase British treasures to the rest of the world and make everybody feel invited and visit the country.
However, due to transport problems, security fears and heightened prices the UK travel and tourism industry has not boomed as much as some would like. Many hotel rooms have been priced up by as much as ten times.
One of the world's leading suppliers of online hotel bookings and inbound travel services, JacTravel, said its London bookings have dropped by 35% for July and by 30% for August compared with last year.
It hasn't been all bad news though as many of the main shopping districts in the capital have said that between Monday and Thursday of the first Olympic week, footfall was up 11.6% on the previous week and 16.2% up on the same week in 2011.
On the day of the triathlon (Tuesday 7th) the West End, led by numerous luxury brands, saw a 13.5% uplift in footfall, compared with East London, the area that is home to the Games and the new Westfield shopping centre, which saw footfall shrink 8.3% year-on-year on the same day.
London Underground has also been extremely busy carrying more passengers last Friday (August 3rd) than on any other day in its history with 4.4 million customers. These figures break the record set the previous day, last Thursday, when 4.31 million customers used the Tube.
The 2012 Olympics are expected to have a very positive long-term effect on the UK travel and tourism market and deliver a much-needed boost to the economy.
For more information on the UK travel and tourism market, see the latest research: UK Travel and Tourism Market Report
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