Londoners are delaying overseas travel until the end of the 2012 Olympic Games in August, a study out today (Wednesday) shows.
People appear to be deferring outbound travel, which surges by 10% year on year in the three weeks following the games which end on August 12, data based by bookings through Amadeus shows.
Departures to any destination from London for the period before the opening ceremony on July 27 are 5% below 2011 levels.
Across the whole summer - from July 2 until September 2 - 2% fewer Londoners will leave the city than last year.
“However, it seems that Londoners aren’t forgoing a holiday altogether, simply deferring it, as three weeks after the closing ceremony, departures will increase to 10% more than in the same period in 2011,” the study said.
With 50 days to go before the Games, the findings show that inbound booking figures for the Olympics period, made by May 12, are 13% higher than the same period in 2011.
The US is the single biggest source nation for traffic to the Olympics, accounting for 19% of total expected arrivals – a 12% increase on 2011.
Germany is the second largest source market, responsible for 8% of total expected arrivals.
BRICS nations (Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa) are emerging as important source nations for long-haul travel to London during the Olympics period with a 40% increase in bookings, representing a 9% share of total arrivals.
Europe is the source region for the greatest proportion of arrivals to London during the period of the Games, accounting for 46% of the total, followed by North America is second with a 23% share. This represents an increase of 18% and 10% for Europe and North America respectively. Asia, the third biggest market and source region for 9% of arrivals, has seen a significant increase of 27% on 2011 bookings.
New York is most popular source city for travel to London in the US together with San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, while numbers for Los Angeles are down over the Olympics period.
The number of visitors staying in London is expected to be up by 7% year on year during the games with the greatest increase being between August 4-8.
Amadeus senior vice president of distribution Holger Taubmann said: “This data highlights the significant opportunity for travel providers and businesses in London over the Olympics period, particularly during the dates when occupancy will surge compared with last year, that is, between 4 and 8 August.
“Businesses, especially those within the leisure and retail sectors, will have big opportunities by catering to the needs of travellers from all over the world this summer.
“The data also indicates another period that will be of crucial importance to UK-based travel sellers: the weeks after the closing ceremony, when many Londoners will depart from the city.”
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