Breaking Travel News was live in Trafalgar Square, central London, today as news broke that London would host the 2012 Games Olympics, beating Moscow, New York, Madrid and Paris. The International Olympics Committee members chose London in a 54-50 vote in Singapore today.
The atmosphere was jubilent as the announcement from Singapore was shown on giant TV screens in Trafalgar Square. Crowds cheered and waved their flags. Champagne was sprayed around Nelson’s Column and thousands danced in the streets. Colourful confetti was blasted into the air. The gathering was organised by the bid team to thank people for their largely unqualified support
The general feeling was that although the result was a bit of a surprise, given that Paris were though to be favourites, London deserved to win.
Tony Blair said that the result was evidence of what can happen when people work together toward a common goal.
VisitBritain chairman, Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge told Breaking Travel News that he was not just thrilled but “over the moon” that London won the bid. He commented: “This is fantastic news for London and the whole of the UK. Hosting the 2012 Games will be great for sport and, with half a million visitors expected to spend £2 billion during the year of the Games alone, great for tourism as well. Congratulations to everyone involved in the bid process.”
Eurostar said it was delighted that London would be hosting the 2012 Olympics and will be naming a train “London 2012”.
Paul Charles, Director of Communications, commented: “London deserves this victory and will be a terrific host for millions of international travellers. We look forward to transporting many thousands of travellers from France and Belgium for this historic event. Paris may have lost the Olympic race but it remains as one of the most popular destinations for UK travellers.”
As the main carrier at London City Airport VLM Airlines were also delighted with the announcement.
Johan Vanneste, Managing Director of VLM Airlines comments:” I would personally like to congratulate London with this victory as I am convinced the 2012 Olympic Games will be another milestone in British sports history!” He adds: “London City is by far the closest airport to the Olympic Stadium, with a distance of only 3 miles. In the run-up to the games, it is expected that large numbers of people involved in the planning, organisation and construction of the Olympic Village infrastructure will have to travel constantly to and from London”.
The decision to hand the 2012 Games to London paves the way for a programme of extensive regeneration that will change the face of east London forever.
Alex Kyriakidis, Global head of Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure at Deloitte, commented: “As proven by previous host cities, the Olympics generate opportunities across the entire job market, which in turn, would be of significant benefit for the UK economy. It would also provide a huge boost for the tourism industry.
“In addition to the benefits the Olympics bring to the sporting arena, they will also provide the catalyst to the regeneration of one of London’s most underdeveloped areas - the Lower Lea Valley - into a new London park.