| LONDON, July 18
LONDON, July 18 Britain's tourism chief said
recent wet weather would not deter visitors from other countries
and would not dampen its hopes of benefiting from the London
The public body VisitBritain wants to use the Games to
showcase the country, enticing an extra 4.6 million visitors
between 2011 and 2015.
The country has been enduring floods during record summer
rainfall, and sports fans have been warned they may need their
rubber "Wellington" boots to visit some Olympic venues.
"It's only the Brits that have a complete and utter
obsession really with our weather, I think the rest of the world
is slightly less interested," VisitBritain's Chief Executive
Sandie Dawe told reporters to quiet murmuring of dissent in the
"Frankly, people don't come here to lie on the beach, that's
not our offer, they come for culture, heritage and sightseeing.
They come all times of year - we have a temperate climate."
Canadians come in the winter because it is warmer for them
to do their shopping and visit the museums, while people in the
Middle East come in the summer when the "green is balm to their
eyes," she said.
Conversations about the weather is as popular among Britons
"It is a topic that is deployed nationwide as
an ice-breaker," Jo Bryant an etiquette adviser and editor at
Debrett's, the UK authority on etiquette and modern manners,
said in a column for Reuters earlier this week.
"When two strangers meet, in a queue for example,
it is virtually de rigueur to enjoy a short conversation about
Britain has beamed images of Britain's tourist attractions
on landmark venues around the world as part of a "GREAT"
marketing campaign, ahead of the Olympics, which start on July
The 39-million pound ($60.72 million) campaign hopes to
maximise the economic potential of the Games, giving a lift to a
VisitBritain hopes to increase visitor spend by an extra 2.3
billion pounds in the four years after the Games.
The annual value of the tourism industry to the British
economy is 115 billion pounds.
Weather forecasters are predicting some respite from the
"Anyway, the sun's going to come out," Dawe added.
"Have you looked at the long-range weather forecast, it
An estimated 90 million people will see the adverts in 14
cities, while four billion people are expected to tune in to
watch the Games on their televisions.
($1 = 0.6422 British pounds)
(Reporting by Avril Ormsby, editing by Paul Casciato)