Poll Taken from Travellers Show Britain Less Appealing after Riots

August 31, 2011

A poll taken from travellers in Germany, allergist France and the United States conducted by the research agency TNS has suggested that up to 42 per cent now see Britain as less appealing building up to the Olympic Games which is to be staged in London next year.

From the travellers planning a holiday in the UK, drug 25% of Americans 14 per cent of Germans, and five per cent of French respondents were detterd from visiting.

In each of the three countries, a third of those questioned said they felt less confident about London’s ability to stage a trouble-free Olympic Games, despite the promise by officials on the organising committee to review security arrangements in the wake of the riots.

A spokesman for VisitBritain said that the survey was carried out too soon after the riots, and the results represented a “ kneejerk” reaction. He said that in the long term tourism was unlikely to suffer.

“Britain’s tourism industry is extremely resilient,” he said. “No major visitor attractions were targeted by rioters and the situation is just about back to normal. Our experience has shown that, besides having to deals with calls from concerned relatives back home, holidaymakers in London during the rioting were not affected.”

He said that official figures for foreign arrivals during August would be available in October.

The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) said that the impact of the rioting on visitor numbers to Britain was “negligible”. It said that in the immediate aftermath of the unrest its members had reported fewer than 100 cancellations for hotel rooms per night, which it said was not unusual.

Tom Jenkins, executive director of the association, “People cancel for a myriad of reasons. The disturbances have proved as significant a factor as having a sick dog or flooding the bathroom.”

He added that the rioting would not affect visitor numbers to the Olympics.

“The Olympics is, overwhelmingly, a domestic event,” he said. “British people won’t be put off from visiting the Olympics in Stratford because a year earlier shop windows were broken in Hackney.”