12 June 2012
From Amanda Baillieu’s blog
Every single person I know who lives or works in London is aiming to get out of the city for the duration of the Olympic games so I am now wondering if I’ve made the right decision to stay put.
This struck me particularly last night when Thames News showed the planned road closures and TfL warned us that roads in central London will be as congested as it is in the run-up to Christmas.
I am not sure why this is.
London normally copes quite well with an influx of people for major sporting events and school holidays mean that 25% of families traditionally leave London in late July and early August. So even with 80,000 members of the Olympic family arriving, there should be fewer people in the capital than normal.
Of course, as well as ‘the family’ there are tourists but who are they exactly?
If they haven’t already been deterred by the lengthy immigration queues at Heathrow, the exorbitant prices being charged for London hotel rooms means a lot of visitors have been put off from coming to London. Summer bookings are down by as much as 30 per cent for some tour operators, according to travel agents.
On top of this, no self-respecting European would be anywhere but on a beach during late July and August- certainly not the French and Italians- while Middle Eastern visitors may be in town but they’re here for the shopping, particularly the last two weeks of July, during the pre-Ramadan period.
So is this just scaremongering by London’s organising committee, Locog? By painting a picture of traffic jams, road closures, arms of security guards, overcrowded tubes, and overpriced restaurants is Locog making sure that it has London to itself while managing expectations in case something goes wrong?
I want to stay in London -I have tickets for two events – but I’m irritated that instead of looking forward to this summer subtle tactics are being used to bully me to leave.