Olympics sparks bookings flux

By admin

Travel operators are expecting a dip in bookings in the lead up to the Olympics, but most remain confident a spike will follow in the after math.

As London hotly anticipates the 2012 Olympics for boosting its economy, tour operators are more apprehensive, with the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) reporting some operators are experiencing a 90% slump in bookings during the games.

While not as severe, the trend is being mirrored among Australian operators.

Creative Holidays managing director Paul McGrath revealed that London bookings for July and August 2012 were being "impacted" by the Olympics, with many travellers choosing other destinations to avoid the higher prices and crowds.

Trafalgar managing director Matt Cameron-Smith confirmed a similar trend for its July bookings, adding that some itineraries have been amended to avoid crowds and higher prices during the Olympics.

But with an extra 450,000 visitors expected to flock to London during the games, tour operators remain confident business will come back stronger than ever post-Olympics.

"Huge exposure from the Olympics poses a great marketing opportunity for us to drive travel back to the UK after the games," McGrath said.

"Our bookings will definitely be interrupted over the two week period, but we are confident bookings will return strongly in the weeks after

the games."

Cameron-Smith also expects bookings for Trafalgar's 2011 Europe program will surpass 2011 levels when the hype from the Olympics dies down.

"We have extended our Europe program and have alot of options for people who want to stay on after the Olympics," he said. "Despite a quieter period during the games, we're forecasting another strong year."

With cheap airfares and the strength of the Australian dollar increasing against the pound, Cameron-Smith expects the trend to filter through to other tour operators in the UK. "There is a high motivation to travel among Australian consumers at the moment, which will put many UK tour operators in a good position this year."

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au


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