As the 2012 London Olympics came to a glorious climax yesterday, UKinbound’s chief executive Mary Rance called on the government not to squander all that has been achieved.
“Now is not the time to pat each other on the back and say job well done,” said Rance.
“Along with the many successes and highlights, there have been some major disappointments including a significant reduction in the number of visitors to London and the UK compared to summer 2011.
“In fact, the job to attract visitors to the UK has only just started. If the Government is going to succeed in their ambition of welcoming 40 million visitors by 2020, there must be a genuine determination to attract overseas visitors at a time when the ‘Olympic’ effect no longer exists.
“The government and Locog promised a legacy that would benefit so many aspects of UK life. Now is the time for them to start delivering that promise.
“Complacency is not an option. London is the gateway to the rest of the UK so the issues of the punitive tax on international tourism - APD - as well as the lack of a risk based approach to the processing of visas and the real aversion to making a decision on expanding airport capacity in London have not mysteriously disappeared.
“They need be dealt with now, and with a real sense of urgency,” added Rance.
Rance’s comments follow a national survey of UKinbound members which was carried out over the weekend across all sectors of the membership to establish the impact of the 2012 Games on inbound tourism businesses.
The research, conducted by Qa Research in conjunction with UKinbound, showed that for the period of July 23rd-August 12th, 66 per cent of members surveyed stated that year on year inbound tourism bookings or inbound tourism visitors numbers were significantly lower and a further 22 per cent stated they were slightly lower.
Furthermore, 59 per cent of those who believed numbers were considerably lower stated they had seen decreases in excess of ten per cent.