Despite the hype spewed forth by the IOC and politicians as to the tourism benefits arising from hosting the Olympics, the reality is in fact very different.
That at least is the view of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA).
The association have issued a report that states that the London 2012 Olympic Games may in fact have a "detrimental" impact on tourism in London.
The report notes that cities that host the games suffer a drop in tourism in the years around the event.
ETOA state that London will most likely see a fall of around 2.5 million visitors and a loss of £1.5BN of revenue.
The claims made by politicians, and those with a financial interest in the games, of a boost from the Olympics are "wholly illusory" according to ETOA.
ETOA used data from the past six Olympics to compile the report. All the host cities experienced a major disruption to their normal tourism market, and none showed any obvious signs of tourism growth.
Beijing experienced a fall in international visitor arrivals of 30% in the month before the games.
Sydney lost "significant ground" to other Australian and New Zealand cities.
ETOA Executive Director, Tom Jenkins, is quoted by the BBC:
"We have yet to have a games where tourism has not been disrupted, and disrupted in a way that causes real harm.
Even in the case of Athens, where they carefully restricted new capacity, there were considerable losses before and after the games both in the capital and throughout Greece."
The costs of these ruinous games clearly outweigh the benefits.
Question: Why on earth do cities still compete to hold them?
Answer: The egos of the politicians, and the money to be made by the vested interests (eg multi nationals) with no local stake in the city/country hosting them.
Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics
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