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Press releases


5th Sep 2007

A study released today by Travelodge, the budget hotel company, values the tourism benefits of hosting the 2012 Olympics to the UK economy at potentially 1 billion more than current Government forecasts of 2 billion.

The report reveals Olympic hosts, on average, outperform global tourism growth by 50% in the four years before and the four years after the Games; but warns of a 4.3% decline in growth in the Games year itself.

Should UK tourism perform at this projected level, 3 billion extra spending could be generated by 6.6 million more visitors between 2007 and 2016. A market worth 14.2 billion today would rise 37% to 24 billion in 2016 creating 75, 000 more tourism jobs for the economy. Another 0.9 billion would result if the visitor loss predicted for the year of the Games could be reversed, bringing the legacy closer to 4 billion.

Based on a review of tourism data for Seoul, Barcelona, Sydney and Athens, the report identifies four potential sources of tourism revenue directly related to hosting the Games:

Emerging markets - VisitBritain predicts the majority of future visitor growth will come from emerging markets. China, India, Russia, Brazil, East Asia and Eastern Europe currently account for 40% of overseas visitor growth. The Games is a unique marketing opportunity to re-position Britain as a 'must see' destination. For example, China's outbound visitors are forecast to grow twenty fold by the Games (100 Mn by 2020) and Britain has the link of hosting the Games to win share.
Recovery in long haul markets - Games can be a boost to reviving sales in the flat but critical US market, which remains 16% below 2001 levels.
Iconic events - Being the Olympic host is the hook to attract iconic sporting and cultural events to London. A thousand top and 2nd tier events that could come to Britain as a result of the Olympics have been identified e.g. the Tour de France weekend, which is estimated to raise 115 million in new visitor income for London.
Business tourism - Sydney attracted hundreds of major conferences because of its status as host destination. London would seek to win a share of the 1,000 international conferences that have come to Europe but not London in last 20 years. In this period, the UK has slipped from 1st to 19th in the conference league table.

With less than twelve months to go before Beijing hands over the Olympic torch to London next summer, the report reveals that a large part of the legacy derives from the preceding four year Olympiad phase. The Government is due to publish its Olympic Tourism strategy later this month.

Grant Hearn, CEO of Travelodge, said: "I think the report is a welcome wake-up call. Potentially, the Games can act as a catalyst for UK tourism to outperform the world average by 50% for eight out of the next nine years. These revenues could significantly reduce Britain's 18Billion tourism trade deficit transforming UK tourism into a powerhouse industry of the future.

"What we learn from analysing other Olympics is that a tourism legacy requires detailed early planning, world class airports, attractions, hotels and the creative promotion of the British brand - all of which require serious investment. Only twelve months out from getting the Games rights from Beijing means hard decisions need to be made now if a once in a lifetime opportunity for the industry is to be fully realised."

Further findings reveal:
- Games planners should be ready for some regular London visitors to be turned away, up to 5%, due to fears of congestion and over-pricing
- There is no set pattern to the economic impact on host countries as a range of macro-economic and geo-political factors determine tourism rates
Seoul (5.7%) and Barcelona (3.4%) significantly outperformed the global tourism average in the 4 years up to the Games; yet Sydney (0.5%) and Athens (-0.4%) saw no additional growth
- In the Games' year there is a huge swing in individual tourism performance. Sydney grew (3%) faster than world average while Athens under-performed by (-14%).
- In the four years post Games, Barcelona is the most successful host city with tourism growing 5.7% above its competitors. Sydney saw tourism growth slow in the same period (-1.3%) and Athens recovered slightly outgrowing world average by ((1.6%) in the two years after 2004.

Author Kurt Janson said: "This study indicates that if tourism to the UK follows the trend of previous Olympic host destinations, there is the potential to generate 3bn in additional inbound tourism expenditure and 75,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. However, these benefits are not guaranteed, but require significant additional Government funding for tourism if they are to be achieved."

Travelodge has set a target of becoming the capital's largest hotel brand with 7,000 budget rooms - 40% of the capital's budget hotel market - by 2012. It will add around 22,500 (approx 225 hotels) rooms in the Greater region by the year 2020 creating roughly 4,000 jobs in an investment of over 900 million in new hotels.


For further information, please contact:
Greg Dawson, Travelodge, T: 01844 358644 M: 07921945778
Mark Hutcheon, ReputationInc T: 020 7758 2818 M: 07739 181 352

About the Author
Kurt Janson is an independent tourism policy expert based in London. After working for the New Zealand Tourist Board, he moved to Britain in 1997 to work as Policy Manager for the English Tourist Board; then became Head of Strategic Planning for VisitBritain before setting up his own tourism policy consultancy advising the Tourism Alliance, the Council for Travel and Transport and VisitBritain.

Notes to Editor:
The report lists Olympics lessons to be learnt for maximising a tourism legacy:

Barcelona 1992
- Early planning and additional funds: Barcelona, and Sydney, demonstrates that hosting the Games can be a catalyst for changing Government attitudes to tourism and raising industry standards that underwrite long term growth, particularly in the case of Barcelona

Atlanta 1996
- A heavy duty PR offensive is needed to raise the image of the destination. Atlanta clearly failed as one report states "it was at war with the journalists"

Sydney 2000
- Customer service training to 50, 000 industry staff, in Sydney, was credited with developing world class standards
- Strike a balance between normal tourism: and Olympic tourism Sydney avoided the decline typical with Olympic year tourism (growing by 10.6%) by focusing on its traditional tourism offer as well as Games based events.

Athens 2004
- Prepare for visitor displacement: Athens comprehensively failed to retain ormal visitors put off by fears of congestion and over-pricing
- Tourism Strategy: Athens did not prioritise tourism expecting it to generate naturally from TV exposure. A failure to exploit the 4 year Olympiad by agreeing a tourism strategy caused it to suffer poorly - 4% decline against global growth average of 10%

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