By Daniel Hunter
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that, as well as being the most successful ever, the 2012 Olympic Games had exceeded many expectations with records smashed not just by our outstanding TeamGB athletes but right across the capital, from transport to tourism.
London has kept moving with record numbers using the transport system including more than 60 million journeys made on the Tube over the last two weeks of sporting action as nearly a million people visited the capital to stay and a further 5.5 million made day trips. An 88,000 strong army of volunteers was recruited to help people get to their destinations, greeted with a warm welcome, proving to be a highlight of the Games so far.
This record influx and movement of people is transferring into solid economic returns as the West End retail sector expects to see £250 million pour in on the back of the Games over the next 100 days boosting already high confidence in an area where 50 new store openings are planned in the coming months. Visa’s spend tracker has shown increased transactions up nearly 20 per cent in London’s restaurants and almost 25 per cent in the capital’s nightclubs. Theatre and other ticket sales have been boosted by huge 114 per cent.
More importantly hundreds of millions of people at home and abroad have been watching the Olympic Games including 1 billion for the Opening Ceremony alone. They will have seen what our great city has to offer as well as how brilliantly London and Britain can put on major global events. Recognising this being the first social media Games, Facebook has seen world wide mentions of London at four times higher than normal since the lighting of the Olympic flame.
The Mayor has been using the last two weeks to shamelessly promote London to investors who are in town for the sport by hosting nearly 200 international business leaders and showing them the huge opportunities London has to offer. A further 3,000 people have attended London House to take part in the Mayor’s business programme resulting in 25 serious business leads emerging. It has been estimated London 2012 could generate around £13 billion of economic benefits in the coming years.
London can now turn to delivering its legacy with great confidence knowing that it has hit all its milestones on the road to the 2012 Games on time and budget. It has also secured the future of six out of the eight venues on the Olympic Park - something that had never been achieved before — with serious and credible plans on the table for the Olympic Stadium and the Press and Broadcast Centre.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London has just put on the best record breaking Olympics Games ever. TeamGB’s performance has amazed and thrilled us all and the medal haul has made Britain so proud. The doom mongers are on the back foot and we are going to prove them wrong further as we deliver an equally successful Paralympic Games and build on the legacy we are already seeing emerge from our efforts.
“However none of this could have been achieved without all those involved on the road to 2012 putting in breathtaking performances just like our fantastic Team GB. From Seb’s team to the thousands who built the venues and infrastructure, those who kept London working, to the huge army of volunteers - we thank you.
“In particular I want to thank tens of thousands who have made this all possible from a range of partner organisations, including our fantastic police and emergency services, the Armed Forces and security personnel, Transport for London staff and all transport workers. They have not only ensured we have enjoyed a smooth, safe and secure Olympic Games but also given a warm and friendly British welcome to all our guests.”
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: “As the Olympic Flame was extinguished last night, it was a poignant moment. Yes, there was some sadness that these fantastic Games are over, but there was also tremendous pride at what we, as a country, have achieved and the magnificent opportunity we have created for our city and our country. What we have witnessed in these last two weeks is a succession of iconic sporting moments that will inspire a generation. On behalf of London 2012 I would like to say thank you to the athletes, to the spectators, to our brilliant Games Makers, to people all around the UK who cheered on Team GB and to our stakeholders and sponsors. When our time came, Britain we did it right.”
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