Unfortunately, my having great time was of little encouragement for London, as most tourists seem to have avoided what the BBC London and other commentators were quite proudly and pedantically calling The Greatest Games in History in the Greatest City in the World and London was then compared to a Ghost Town by the FT.
My personal interpretation is that fear mongering by the Mayor of London resulted in the following points to happen simultaneously:
- Employees were asked to either work for home or take holidays. Now imagine the economic impact of so many people "working for home" with an eye on the TV set watching the Olympics... Most companies must have been hit hard on this one.
- Londoners left the city when they could, for extended holidays or break.
- Tourists who usually come to London for "normal" tourism didn't show
In addition to the fear mongering, the silly ticketing system prevented most people from buying tickets for the events, and hence, do you really think that people would travel across countries and continents for the Olympics without tickets? Seriously?
There were countless interviews on the radio about cabbies making amount half of their usual income, stores being empty, cinemas, theatres, etc.
I personally asked one of the sales persons in the Covent Garden Apple Store: "Is it busier than usual during the Olympics?" to hear that the store had been "painfully empty" and that this particular sales person, who had done all the week-ends since the opening continued "it's the first time I see the store so empty".
The whole situation was so obvious that I'm now really wondering what kind of lies our great leaders will come up with to explain the Olympics brought in a lot of tourists, clients, shoppers and their business to the UK.