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London 2012 Olympics: Most Londoners Leaving City for Leisure, Not to Escape

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jul 25, 2012 04:29 PM EDT

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London Olympics
A traveller passes the Olympic Rings during an unveiling ceremony in the Terminal Five arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport, in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games in London.(Photo : Reuters)

Despite millions of people heading to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, not all Londoners want to escape the madness that will ensure during the 17 day event. A new survey shows that most are excited for the Games to begin and a majority of London travelers aren't leaving the city because of the Olympics.

According to a survey by the travel organization ABTA, only one in ten travelers are leaving London just to avoid the Games. However, a majority of Londoners who are traveling this summer are only leaving because for 59 percent, summer is the time of year where they usually travel, according to UKPA.

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As many students are on a break during this time of year, summer is a big time for travel in London, whether or not the Olympics are in town. According to ABTA, two million Brits traveled to popular places like Spain, Turkey and Greece just last weekend.

ABTA communications head Victoria Bacon said: "Numbers taking holidays at this time are fairly consistent with past years, showing that while some have chosen to forgo a summer holiday during the Games, these have been balanced by those wanting to get away."

Generally, the British are excited for the Olympic Games. According to the survey of 2,068 people, 59 percent are looking forward to the Games, however younger people are more excited. Fourty-five percent of those age 55 and older said they aren't looking forward to the Olympics.

Londoners are more excited about the Games than other nearby countries, which is understandable as the London is hosting the Games this year. Seventy percent of Londoners are ready for the Games to start while only 50 percent of Scots are excited about the Olympics.

Despite their excitement, a majority of Londoners won't actually attend the games. Only 7 percent said they will go to the event, while 40 percent are more likely to sit home and watch the Games on television.  Ten percent of respondents believe the Olympics will have a positive effect on the country's atmosphere.

"Our research clearly shows that most of us in the UK are really looking forward to the Olympics, whether we'll be attending events, watching on TV or just soaking up the feel good atmosphere throughout the country," Bacon said.  "A lot of Britons are also taking a holiday whether that's because they want some peace and quiet, some guaranteed sunshine or a well-earned break."

While the survey shows that most Londoners aren't leaving the city because of the Olympics, Tourism Ireland is trying to benefit from those that are. They started a campaign to encourage Londoners to escape the madness of the Olympics.



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