News / Economy

London Businesses Bounce Back from Olympics Slump

Businesses in London during first Olympic weekBusinesses in London during first Olympic week
x
Businesses in London during first Olympic week
Businesses in London during first Olympic week
Al Pessin
LONDON  — The Olympics hurt business in central London last week, as the usual summer visitors stayed away for fear of huge crowds. But the situation is much better in the Games’ second week.

The owners of theaters, restaurants and other businesses in central London were worried last week. They reported business being down by as much as 30 percent from what they would expect for this time of year.  

It appears Olympics visitors were focused on the Games, not the city’s usual attractions. At the same time, other potential customers were staying away because of fears of huge crowds, based on government recommendations to avoid commuter trains and the city center during the Games. The result was that the transit system and businesses were relatively empty.

So early last week, the head of the Society of London Theater, Julian Bird, and other businesspeople had a conversation with the London Olympics Committee and transport officials.

“We in the theater community in conjunction with the retail community and others were able to say, ‘Come on, we need to change that messaging just a little bit on the transport,’ to make people realize they could come in, and it was safe and easy to do so,” Bird said.

Bird says the change in the publicity campaign worked and that business during Olympics Week Two is much better than during Week One.

“Attendances that week were not great.  Let us not pretend.  But now, they are right back up there.  And this is what we have found from other Olympics cities that we have researched, that as the city gets ready, tourists are not in the town yet.  And that is what happened in London.  It was just very, very quiet.  London is now full.  I am very pleased to say that we have had some very, very good attendances, and very good figures,” Bird said.

London’s theater community is particularly proud to have several long-running musicals and a variety of plays on offer, with all of its theaters in use.

Actress Tamsin Greig is in rehearsals for a new play called "Jumpy" that opens next week, just after the Olympics.  But she says the Games have affected her, as they have all Londoners.

“My tube [subway] journey has been interesting, getting across town when there are so many more bodies to navigate.  I really want to help people.  It has been really nice because you have to get involved.  And also, the atmosphere in London is so infectious.  There is something that is so alive about being here right now,” Greig said.

Bird says London’s experience proves that major events and regular businesses can coexist in a large city, although some patience might be required.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9109
JPY
USD
121.50
GBP
USD
0.6467
CAD
USD
1.2293
INR
USD
63.559

Rates may not be current.