Games giving "Brand Britain" an Asian boost

LONDON Fri May 25, 2012 7:09pm EDT

A spectator shelters under an umbrella with a London 2012 Olympics logo in the Olympic Park at Stratford, east London May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A spectator shelters under an umbrella with a London 2012 Olympics logo in the Olympic Park at Stratford, east London May 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - The London Olympics are giving "brand Britain" a fillip in China and India, a survey indicated on Saturday, boosting the UK government's ambition of attracting an extra one billion pounds of inward investment and trade.

Publicity surrounding the Games had resulted in nearly 80 percent of those Chinese and Indians questioned saying they were more likely to want to visit Britain.

They were also keen to flash the cash, lured by the UK's luxury brands and fashion stores, with 63 percent of Chinese and 60 percent of Indians saying they would like to buy more British goods, professional services provider Deloitte said.

Britain has embarked on a trade and tourism campaign called "GREAT" in the hope of maximising its economic potential and generating long-term growth, lifting an economy that has fallen back into recession.

It is supported by British businesses as well as figures from the fashion world.

The Games, which start on July 27, have cost 9.3 billion pounds ($14.58 billion) and British firms, especially retailers and hospitality operators, have been urged to take advantage of them in the short-term as well as the "shifting global demographics".

"There has always been a strong underlying demand to visit Britain, but London 2012 is giving the UK a shot in the arm," Deloitte director Simon Oaten said in a statement.

"Given the UK economy's growth prospects, it is important for consumer businesses to develop relationships with overseas customers, particularly from markets such as India and China.

"London 2012 provides the UK with a unique moment, a unique competitive edge over other countries."

The survey showed the London Games is having less impact in more developed economies, where as few as 49 percent of respondents in the United States said it had made them more interested in visiting Britain, rising to 57 percent among those questioned in France.

A meagre 20 percent of Americans said they would like to buy more British goods, with 23 percent saying so in Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse.

(Reporting by Avril Ormsby)

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