The European Tour Operators Association has released a new report claiming the Olympics stalls tourism growth in the host country.
Citing previous host cities, ETOA executive director Tom Jenkins said the last two cities to host the games have seen a drop in tourism figures during or after the events while Beijing is also apparently having problems.
He added that Athens saw a drop of more than 5% in 2004 when it hosted the Olympics while Greece saw visitor numbers fall by more than 10%.
Furthermore its growth in visitor numbers is around a quarter of that seen by rival destination Turkey while neighbouring Croatia has also seen stronger growth since 2004.
Jenkins also argued while Sydney saw a jump of more than 200,000 visitors to around 2.7 million for the 2000 Olympic games which it hosted, by 2003 the number of visitors had dropped by around 400,000.
In Beijing which is about to host the latest games hoteliers in the city are reporting fewer than 50% of four star hotel rooms have been booked while more than 20% of five star rooms are currently unbooked for the event.
Jenkins said:“The principal problem is the impression that everything will be overcrowded and overpriced and this blights a region. The fact that you scare those visitors away means you have a drop in satisfied visitors coming back.”
However, Visit London chief executive James Bidwell defended the 2012 games said analysts Oxford Economics show the incremental tourism benefit for London is £2.2 billion and £0.9 billion for the UK as a whole.
He added: “London is the number one city destination in the world for international travel and the games are a unique opportunity to make the British capital the number one destination of choice for visitors from emerging markets.”
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