While visitation during London 2012 will fall short of what the city would normally welcome during this time of year, London is faring better than previous Olympic host cities, according to the European Tour Operators Association.
ETOA has traditionally been critical of the Olympic Games’ negative impact on leisure tourism.
“It is important to emphasize how well London is doing compared with other Olympic Games, and what good news there is for potential visitors,” ETOA's executive director, Tom Jenkins, said in a statement.
ETOA said London normally welcomes around 300,000 foreign and 800,000 domestic tourists per day during the month of August. ETOA estimates that during the Games, London hotels will be occupied by more than 60,000 foreign guests per night. In comparison, Sydney had about 25,000 in 2000, Athens 13,000 in 2004 and Beijing 27,000 in 2008.
“Judged against previous Olympics, this is a major achievement,” Jenkins said.
Even though London is attracting more visitors than previous Olympic cities, ETOA says there's plenty of room for last-minute travelers. VisitBritan said the same thing this week
London has more than 125,000 hotel rooms and has plenty of inventory available throughout the Games in all categories, according to ETOA. And, it said that many hotels are offering rates at or below what they were charging last year.
Furthermore, ETOA claims that it is easier to book theater tickets and make restaurant reservations now than at any time last year.
ETOA also noted that the government is encouraging Londoners to work from home if possible, which could mean hundreds of thousands fewer passengers taking public transportation.
“In the context of Olympic tourism, London is set to deliver an outstanding performance. And there is still plenty of space. This is excellent news for last-minute visitors to London,” said Jenkins. Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly.