Britain counts cost of Summer Olympics
The London Olympics may have earned Britain plenty of bronze, silver and gold, but the hoped-for record-breaking hordes of overseas visitors failed to show up, according to official figures.
The United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics says a total of 3.18 million foreign travelers visited in July -- 180,000 fewer than last year.
Around 2.12 million came from European countries, although Chinese and North American travelers made strong showings.
Total visitor spending of £2.01 billion (US$3.25 billion) also fell short of expectations as it was £120 million lower than the previous year.
Considering that the cost of the London Olympics has been estimated at around £9 billion, the less-than-impressive figures in both arrivals and spending do not bode well for future Olympic hosts.
“As an industry we knew the Games would have a negative impact on international visitor numbers to London but the impact on the rest of the United Kingdom, combined with domestic visitors staying away, has been deeply disappointing," said Rita Beckwith, CEO of City Cruises based in London.
This isn't the first time Olympic destinations have produced more "bang than bucks." Visitors shunned Beijing when hotel prices rocketed during the 2008 Olympic Games, while costly Athens Olympic venues have since turned into ghost towns.
All of this is probably not what Rio de Janeiro, which is due to host the Olympic Games in 2016, wants to hear.
Let's just hope they keep their eyes and ears open -- and a calculator at the ready.