Tourism chiefs: London might be left deserted after the Olympics

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Tourism bosses fear London will be left deserted in the weeks immediately following the Olympic Games.

The influx of athletes and spectators during the Games, which run from July 28 to August 12, is expected to push the capital’s infrastructure to near breaking point.

But ‘normal’ visitors are staying away from London this summer because of concerns over congestion.

This has resulted in hotels slashing their prices to as little as £10 a night the weekend after the Olympic party comes to a close.

One hotel adjacent to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, is offering a £39 rate for a family of four on Friday August 17, reports the Independent.

The hotel, a new-build Premier Inn, is charging £199 per night during the Olympics.

But while it is to be expected for hotel prices in and around the Olympic site to slump considerably following the Games, the same pattern is occurring in central London as well.

The Travelodge in Covent Garden is charging £170 for a twin room on Friday August 10 – one week later and this price has shrunk to just £42.75.

Elsewhere, the Savoy offers its Signature River 1-Bed Suite King for £5,750 on August 10; a week later it costs ‘just’ £2,195, a saving of more than £3,500.

Nick Varney, chief executive of attractions operator Merlin, said: ‘The travel trade who normally bring tourist groups have basically switched away from London.

‘Hotel rooms have gone up in price, and they’ve thought, “We don’t even want to deal with being in London through that summer period.” So immediately, there’s a trade hit.’

Kit Malthouse, London’s deputy mayor, said that a slump in tourism is to be expected in the aftermath of hosting the Olympics.
He said: ‘After the Games, there will be an exaggerated effect of people staying away because they’re uncertain about what state the city is in.’

However, the effect is expected to be short-lived as the Paralympic Games start on August 29 and run until September 9.