Reuters - Video

Edition: US | UK | IN | CN | JP

Finance Videos

Olympics turns London into ghost city

Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - 02:53

Aug. 1 - Anger is growing among businesses in prime areas of London over ''alarmist'' warnings about Olympic chaos that have left parts of the capital a virtual ghost town. Hayley Platt reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

London's sightseeing buses are usually full at this time of year. But this one has just seven passengers. SOUNDBITE:Adele, from Leeds, North England, saying (English): "I did think we might have a problem in finding a space on the bus today, so I am quite surprised that there are only a few people on board." SOUNDBITE: Larry, California, USA, saying (English): "It hasn't been that crowded it's true." Golden Tours says it's barely covering costs and Managing Director Nick Palen blames the Olympics. SOUNDBITE: Nick Palen, Managing Director, Golden Tours, saying (English): "The message we sent out is that we are expensive, which wasn't the right message to send, and don't come here because we're too busy, it's the wrong thing to do." London's Theatres are suffering too. Bookings for some West End shows are down by a third. Nica Burns is CEO of the Nimax group of theatres. SOUNDBITE: Nica Burns, CEO Nimax Theatres, saying (English): "The bottom line is that there is a great once in a lifetime new show in town and it's called the Olympics and it is a massive hit. I think that perhaps we underestimated quite how brilliant the Olympics would be and would therefore impact on other entertainments and businesses." Hotels, restaurants and shops are also victims of ghost London. Footfall in the West End is down 12 percent and some traders says business has slumped by 70 percent. They say warnings of travel chaos put out by the government and event organisers ahead of the Games were "alarmist" SOUNDBITE: Nica Burns, CEO Nimax Theatres, saying (English): "I think they advised the London population far too strongly. We've been told and continued to be told to stay out of the transport system because they were anxious everyone would be unable to travel at peak times." The situation is not unique - regular tourists often stay away during major events. But current economic times are tough and many in the UK can't afford to take too great a hit. Tom Jenkins is CEO of the European Tour Operators Association. SOUNDBITE: Tom Jenkins, CEO, European Tour Operators Association, saying (English): "Normally we have about 800,000 domestic visitors and a further 300,000 foreign visitors in London every day. At the moment we don't have those people. What we have is we have about 500,000-600,000 Olympic spectators but they're all at Stratford and they're in Stratford because they're interested in sport, they're interested in watching the games, they're not coming here to shop, go to the restaurants, visit the theatres and go into the museums." So even the crowds at Stratford's massive shopping centre aren't necessarily helping pay off the Olympic-size bill the Games has left Britain. Hayley Platt, Reuters

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Olympics turns London into ghost city

Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - 02:53