Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Games boost to retail and tourism

Boris Johnson welcomed figures showing an increase in tourism and shopping during the Olympics
Boris Johnson welcomed figures showing an increase in tourism and shopping during the Olympics

The Olympics is proving a boost to retailing and tourism, it has been announced.

There had been reports of theatres, restaurants and tourist areas of London being affected by people avoiding the capital due to Olympic crowds.

But London Mayor Boris Johnson welcomed figures showing that busy tourism and shopping areas had seen an increase in numbers during the Games.

Retailers across London's Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street said there had been an increase in sales and a higher footfall - the number of people going into a shop - over the past few days. This uplift was reflected in increased footfall across the London areas of Piccadilly, Haymarket, Shaftesbury Avenue and St James's.

Heart of London, the business improvement district representing these areas, said that between Monday and Thursday of last week, footfall was up 11.6% on the previous week and 16.2% up on the same week in 2011.

Mr Johnson announced London Underground carried more passengers last Friday than on any other day in its history with 4.4 million customers.

These figures break the record set the previous day, last Thursday, when 4.31 million customers used the Tube. There has also been a significant increase in the number of passengers using Tube stations in the capital's West End, with an increase of 27% last Saturday night.

In the same week last year, daily Tube passenger numbers were around 3.7 to 3.8 million. The Docklands Light Railway carried more than half a million passengers in one day for the first time last Friday August 3. Also, London Overground passenger numbers are up 27%, week on week.

Mr Johnson said: "This jaw-dropping weekend of outstanding sporting success for Team GB has seen many hundreds of thousands of people travelling to 2012 venues and crowds several deep lining the streets to cheer on Triathlon and Marathon competitors.Now London's transport network is continuing to put in some record-breaking performances of its own as it moves people into and across the city.

"This is testimony to years of meticulous planning and billions of pounds in investment which combined has ensured that athletes, spectators, officials and media are being ferried smoothly to their events."

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