POSTED: October 4th 2013

Sports Travel: The London 2012 Olympics Wrap from VisitBritain

The Visit Britain report found USA, France and Germany being the most frequent customers around Games time / Visit Britain
The Visit Britain report found USA, France and Germany being the most frequent customers around Games time / Visit Britain


VisitBritain has shared pre and post Olympic Games activity with the Japanese tourism industry and 2020 hosts Tokyo.

A fact sheet looks at visitor and spend levels, how perceptions of a country can change for the better and tourism results one year on.

How many people visited the UK?

Overall there were 8.9 million visits from overseas during July, August and September 2012.

Some 685,000 visits of these visits were primarily due to, or involved attending, an official ticketed event at the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games.

Who visited most?

1. US (102,000 visits)
2. France (70,000 visits)
3. Germany (64,000 visits)

How much did they spend?

Visitors spent £6.4 billion - 8% more than in Q3 2011 and a new record. In total, the 685,000 visits generated spend of £925 million.

Average spend per visit was £1,350 (double the £668 average spend of non-Games related visits in Q3).

What about displacement?

August time experienced a short-lived dip in visits, with 5% fewer arriving during that period. However, spend was up 9%, proving that Games time visitors are in fact valuable.

Who spent the most?

1. Australia
2. US
3. Canada

What else benefitted?

During the Games, London hotels saw an average occupancy of 88.5% and total revenue per available room increased by 3.8%.

Many national museums and galleries saw increased admissions during 2012, such as The Victoria & Albert Museum (+15%) and Tate Modern (+11%).

Gross ticket sales at 52 major theatres rose by 0.27% on the previous year, with attendances up by 0.56% to 14 million.

Footfall counts in the West End were also up on 2011 in each month from August 2012 through to February 2013.

How have perceptions of Britain improved?

Global perceptions of 'Welcome', Britain's 'Overall Nation Brand' and the UK's sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to the considerable marketing and PR efforts surrounding the successful hosting of the London 2012 Games.

The latest Nations Brands Index (NBI) research rates 50 of the world's leading nations around six core categories.

Research was carried out in July 2012 and then repeated post Games to reveal how the international image of a country can be impacted by hosting a major sporting event.

Britain's 'Overall Nation Brand' ranking moved up one place to be ranked fourth out of 50 major countries around the world.

Britain's 'Welcome' has seen the biggest jump, moving from 12th place pre-Games to ninth - putting Britain in the top 10 for the very first time.

'Tourism' held its position in fourth place, with 'People' remaining fifth overall.

In addition 63% said the Olympics has increased interest in visiting the UK. (NBI) and 75% agreed they now want to see more than London. (NBI)

Capitalising on the momentum

With Britain's image and reputation around the world riding high after the Games, VisitBritain seized the moment to turn viewers into visitors and did what no other host nation has done - rolled out a post-Games marketing campaign the day after the Games ended.

VisitBritain, together with UKTI, British Council and FCO, mounted a major marketing campaign under the banner GREAT Britain.

The campaign, which commenced before the Games, showcases the very best of Britain in a highly impactful campaign promoting culture, heritage, countryside and sport, and also education and business.

The campaign is already bringing economic benefits through increased trade, investment and tourism, VisitBritain said.

What is the overall economic impact?

Tourism has proven itself as one of the major economic legacies of hosting the London 2012 Games. One year on, Britain is seeing higher numbers of holiday visits and tourist spending than ever before.

In the most recent research figures from the 2013 International Passenger Survey (IPS), a record-breaking 1.53 million holiday visits were recorded in July this year and Britain welcomed 3.26 million overall overseas visits over the month, up 3% on July 2012.

The first seven months of 2013 have seen more holiday visits to Britain than during the same period of time in any previous year, and 4% higher than the first seven months of 2012.

At £2.52 billion, July 2013 saw the highest ever monthly tourist spend in history, with overseas visitor spending up by 23% compared to July 2012.

The first half of 2013 enjoyed record levels of spend and the strongest visitor numbers since 2008.

In June 2013, Britain had over 0.5 million visits from 'Rest of World' markets (+18%) such as China, India, Brazil and Japan - the highest ever.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said: "The London 2012 Games was an incredible opportunity for Britain and a huge boost to our profile overseas.

"This global event allowed us to show the world the best of British hospitality and one year on the results are positive.

"This achievement does not fall into the lap of host nations - we started work on our tourism strategy as soon as London was announced as the host city seven years prior to the event and have ramped up our marketing and PR around the world to capitalise on it."

Keywords · London 2012 · sports travel · Olympic Games

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Laura Walden ()

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