September 21, 2010
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide an immediate benefit and leave a long-lasting legacy for the country and for its tourism industry, says the British Hospitality Association.
Responding to forecasts that visitor arrivals to London will drop after the Games, the BHA’s chief executive, Ufi Ibrahim says that there are significant benefits to the Games and its positive legacy will stretch well into the future.
“Many sectors of the hospitality industry will gain from holding the Games in London – not just hotels but also the entertainment and catering sectors. It’s estimated, for example, that caterers and restaurants will be providing over 18m meals to athletes and visitors during the event. This is, after all, one of the world’s biggest events.
“The Games will give us the opportunity to showcase what British companies can achieve in providing top class facilities and leave a long-lasting legacy. Competitors and visitors alike will leave knowing that the British welcome surpasses that of any other Olympic destination.”
Ms Ibrahim added that the Games had regenerated parts of London’s infrastructure that would not otherwise have been touched. This was to the advantage of the capital generally but, more particularly, to the hundreds of thousands of people who would be able to enjoy and benefit from the new facilities after the Games had departed.
The Games also represented the kind of public/private partnership which the BHA fully supported.
“We would like to see far more meaningful partnerships between the private sector, other organisations and local and national government throughout the UK so that the whole country can reap the long-term legacy of the event.”
She said that London has grown its visitor numbers in the past decades through its intrinsic strengths as a tourist and business destination.
“There is no reason to suppose that the Games will negatively influence this. London is one of the world’s most important business and leisure destinations. Its mix of corporate and leisure traffic is very strong – illustrated by London occupancy barely falling below 80 per cent in the period 2008/10 at a time when the recession hit the hardest.”
She said that the Games would bring many new visitors to Britain who would not otherwise have come.
“Opening up new visitor markets is precisely what the UK wants.
“I’m sure that they will gain a highly favourable impression of Britain during their visit and there is every likelihood that they will want to return. This will be one of the most important parts of the Games’ legacy.”
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Editor’s note: The British Hospitality Association is the national trade association of the hotel, catering and leisure industry, representing more than 40,000 establishments with over 340,000 rooms and employing over 500,000 people.
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