POSTED: June 11th 2012
British Airways sees Brits postponing holidays and staying in town to support Team GB
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
June 11 – British Airways has released a study showing that this year Brits are staying home and postponing vacations and personal engagements to support Team GB at the Games.
British Airways is official airline partner of the London 2012 Games, Team GB and ParalympicsGB.
We have now passed the 50 day mark and the study finds that 40 per cent of Brits have already juggled their holiday specifically around the London 2012 Games. One in ten people have even cancelled their holiday, while ten per cent have held back from booking a break this year to back the team.
Interest is way up with 89 per cent of people surveyed in Northern Ireland said that they would change their holiday plans to watch the Games as well as 45 per cent of people in the East Midlands and 39 per cent of Londoners.
Almost 10 per cent of those polled would cancel a family engagement or a romantic date to watch the Games.
The study quotes Social anthropologist Kate Fox, author of Watching The English: The Hidden Rules Of English Behaviour.
Fox said: “We are normally a nation of ‘closet patriots’ – we may feel proud to be British, but we don’t often make a big, gushy, flag-waving fuss about it.
“Except over rare national moments like the Queen’s Jubilee and sport: big sporting events such as the London 2012 Games, which provide an antidote to our social dis-ease and cynicism, providing us with an appropriate excuse to shed some of our inhibitions and be a bit more emotive and demonstrative in support of our national team.
“At big gatherings like this, members of a tribe experience a special energy, which is known as ‘collective effervescence’ and has a bonding and unifying effect. This effect will certainly be felt by our athletes, and may well help to boost their performance.”
Following the Queen’s Jubilee and with the landing of the Olympic Flame on host soil, an impressive 38 per cent of Brits feeling more patrotic since it landed on flight BA2012 with David Beckham and the Princess Royal on May 18.
The study also finds that a third of Brits agree that the Olympic Games is the most important national event to take place in their lifetime, saying it makes them feel proud to be British.
Former IOC member and Olympian gold medallist Matthew Pinsent also believes that Team GB and ParalympicsGB could go all the way and said, “Every athlete knows and understands the feeling of competing on home ground. There’s a magic about knowing the eyes of your country are on you. Winning gold at home is the ultimate challenge and the most sought-after prize in an athlete’s career. The support of the nation means everything.”
British Airways has launched the ‘Flying Britain Home’ campaign, offering a quarter of a million pounds worth of flights to British expats that live abroad to fly back for the Games. Also 50 flights have been offered to Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes to bring their friends and family home to cheer them on.
Luisa Fernandez, British Airways sponsorship manager, said, “It’s such a proud time to be British and we’re hoping to get the nation into the spirit by flying hundreds of ex-pats back to the UK to celebrate the summer of sport.
“We are immensley proud to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB and will be doing everything we can to rally the nation behind them and give our athletes a home advantage.”
The Olympic Games kick off July 27th in London and run through August 12th.
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Laura Walden ()
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