Group: U.K. tourist money down during Games

A trade group reports that the London Olympics

A trade group reports that the London Olympics brought in less tourist money and fewer outside visitors than had been expected. Above, an installation stands in Parliament Square. (July 31, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

LONDON -- The Olympics brought less tourist money to recession-hit Britain than businesses had hoped, a trade group said Monday, with a majority of tourist companies reporting losses from last year.

A survey of more than 250 tour operators, hoteliers and visitor attractions found that tourist traffic fell all over Britain, not just London, said UKinbound, a leading trade association.

"A lot of people thought London would be very busy and very expensive," said Mary Rance, the group's chief executive. "We weren't completely surprised but we were a bit disappointed that [the Olympics] seem to have had an impact around the U.K., not just London."

The group's survey said that of its members, 88 percent reported some losses during the games compared to the same period last year. The businesses reported visitor numbers were down by 10 to 30 percent compared to last year, Rance said.

Officials are still tallying up the total number of tourists who came to -- or avoided -- London this summer. The capital normally sees about 1.5 million tourists on average in August, and it's not yet clear if that is up or down this year. The official visitor figures won't be available until September.

Tourism officials say that international Olympics visitors to London, including athletes, officials and tourists, totaled about 300,000. Domestic spectators from Britain made up the majority of people visiting games venues.

Restaurants and shops have complained that these games visitors did not spend as much money on food and shopping as typical summer tourists.

"The people who came to the games really didn't do very much sightseeing, didn't do very much shopping, didn't do very much eating out," said Miles Quest, a spokesman for the British Hospitality Association.

London's hotels have hit about 80 percent occupancy, which is not higher than typical August rates, Quest added.

Rita Beckwith, chief executive of City Cruises, an operator of sightseeing tours on the Thames, said the Olympics period had been "deeply disappointing."

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