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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.