Will the London Olympics help the economy?

Will the London Olympics help the economy?

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee could also provide welcome boost

The economy has shrunk by a further 0.2%, according to Government figures, and there continues to be talk of another recession. However, the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics – now just a matter of months away – could help give the British economy a much-needed boost.

The London Olympics are expected to draw thousands of visitors into London, many of whom will have travelled from overseas. This means more money will be spent in shops, restaurants and hotels, not to mention on services such as public transport. This will not just be restricted to London either, with some events at this year’s Olympics taking place in other parts of the country.

Billions of pounds have already been spent regenerating vast swathes of East London in preparation for the Olympics. This includes the Westfield Stratford City shopping complex, which opened in September 2011 and has already proven hugely successful.

A report published by Visa last year predicted that the UK economy would be boosted by £750 million of spending during the London Olympics and the Paralympics, with thousands of foreign visitors accounting for around £709 million of that figure during their stay.

Some economists believe that the combination of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year could have the effect of creating a feel-good factor among Britons. This, in turn, could boost domestic spending.

The construction of the 2012 Olympic venues has also proven to be hugely successful, providing high profile work for many UK construction companies who had been struggling for contracts during the recession. Their handiwork will, of course, be on display for foreign visitors to see which could lead to lucrative overseas contracts if the right people are impressed.

Many businesses, particularly smaller ones, will need to ensure that productivity does not fall significantly as a result of employees taking time off during the London Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as likely transport delays when the 2012 games are taking place.

Of course, it will be some time before the true impact of the London Olympics on the economy is seen but the fact remains that this is the single biggest event Britain has hosted since the 1948 Olympics, bringing with it a significant number of business opportunities.

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