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Will wet Olympics damage Brand Britain?

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 02:55

July 12 - From the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to the upcoming London Olympics, Britain is hosting some major events this summer. But after the wettest June on record, some are worried the rain will frighten off tourists. Joanna Partridge reports

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It was a celebration to mark the British monarch's 60 years on the throne. Unfortunately it took place during the wettest June in a century. From the Diamond Jubilee to the London Olympics, it's a summer of major events in the UK. The world will be watching - but many fear the television coverage of relentless rain will put off potential visitors. So why has the summer been such a washout? Stephen Davenport is a Meteorologist at the MeteoGroup. SOUNDBITE: Stephen Davenport, Meterologist at the MeteoGroup, saying (English): "The problem with the jet stream at the moment and in fact for the last few years going back to 2003, it's been very sluggish. I mean the jetstream is a strong band of winds high up in the atmosphere but they've lost a lot of their strength in recent years and nobody's really sure why, there may be a couple of reasons for that." Lots of rain - and waterlogged ground - has led to the cancellation of all kinds of outdoor events, from village fetes to large concerts and agricultural shows. Last month the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations included a flotilla on the Thames, in the pouring rain. A crowd of over 1 million attended - with millions more around the globe watching on TV. Organisers of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone had to refund 30,000 tickets for practice and qualifying days, due to waterlogged car parks. And fans of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were disappointed when a reunion concert was cancelled meaning another costly refund of 30,000 tickets. Tourism is vital to Britain's economy - it's the fifth-largest industry and is worth around £115 billion a year. PTC The final countdown to the Olympics is well underway. And those who are travelling to the UK to watch the Games will already have bought their tickets. But despite this brief burst of sunshine there are concerns that if this summer continues to be a washout - it may put off future visitors. But Vicky Bullen, CEO of Coley Porter Bell doesn't think images of rain-soaked events will damage an outsider's view of the UK. SOUNDBITE: Vicky Bullen, CEO of Coley Porter Bell. "Brand Britain is about so much more than the weather, you know brand Britain is, it's about our royalty, it's about our heritage, it's about our multiculturalism. Country brands are huge, they come from a country's culture, their sport, their history. Yes their climate plays a role in it, but it's an awful lot more than that." Meterologists says there are signs the weather may improve ahead of the opening ceremony. But even if the Olympics turn out to be a rainy affair - Brits will carry on regardless, something they're renowned for. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Will wet Olympics damage Brand Britain?

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 02:55