The True Cost of the Olympics is… Nothing?
The Olympic games came to an end last night in a blaze of glory. The closing ceremony was hailed as a huge success, as was the games themselves. Great Britain took a staggering 29 gold medals, more than many could have possibly expected. The ultimate question on everyone’s lips as London returns to something like normality is: Now what?
Most of the concern has been raised due to the price tag of the Olympics, which is believed to be in the region of £9bn. MP’s have moved quickly to squash any worries over the cost of the games, citing economists claims that we could see an increase in tourism to the tune of £13bn. This would mean we actually profit from the games, something very few had expected. There has been much concern over the state of London during the games as well, with the West End reportedly being desolate.
Boris Johnson immediately hit back at those claims by throwing some figures out there to silence the naysayers. During the games restaurants saw an increase in business of around 20%, Nightlife revenue was up 24% and (most crippling to the critics) Theater attendance figures had more than doubled! Hardly a damning impact on the economy, I am sure you’ll agree. Boris also added, in typical Boris style, “(I don’t want to boast) But if you were to say to me that we’ve just held the greatest games ever in the greatest city on Earth, I would say you were on the right track and I wouldn’t necessarily dissent with your view”.
In reality Boris Johnson’s statistics barely scratch the surface, with many sports clubs and athletic establishments already seeing a massive increase in revenue directly related to the games. One Birmingham athletics club has said it is now “embarrassingly over-subscribed”, with many others around the region also feeling the positive effects.
Plans were already underway to get the olympic venues ready for the Paralympic Games, which begin in a little over two weeks, before many of the 6,000 olympians had finished their alcohol fueled after-party.
Heathrow was also preparing for its busiest day of the year with an additional 20,000 athletes, volunteers and coaches expected to go through its terminals today. The airport has opened its “Olympic terminal” to help ease the congestion caused by the increased traffic. Heathrow usually deals with an average of 95,000 passengers a day.