London is buzzing around the Olympic stadium with global attention on the games. Even though the city is overrun with visitors here to watch the games, the shopping and entertainment district of London, which is so often crowded and vibrant, has taken a hit.
Many businesses are saying that London Mayor Boris Johnson, the people in charge of transport for London and game organizers scared Londoners away. For months leading up to the games people were warned that the public transportation system was going to be insanely crowded and were told to seek alternative routes or take a vacation during the Olympic games.
Tourists were also scared away with the threat of overcrowding and transit issues. International Business Times called it "the Olympic myth" which is the idea that the Olympic games will be economically profitable.
Prime Minister David Cameron said last month, "It is precisely because times are tough that we have got to get everything we can out of them to support jobs and growth in the economy."
"I am confident that we can derive over £13 billion benefit to the UK economy over the next four years as a result of hosting the games," he added, saying "when you add in the benefits from construction, the total gain will be even greater."
Having the Olympics on your home turf is a great honor and it's also seen as a way for cities to revitalize neighborhoods such as Stratford in London. Yet at the Olympic games, particularly in the summer, "Organizers and government officials tout the astounding economic benefits of the games. The city, basking in the glow of Olympic pride, goes along with the officials. In the end, however, the so-called benefits rarely surface," said an article in The International Business Times.
Many London hotels doubled their rates for the weeks of the Olympics and anticipated demand for them. However, since their rates were so high travel agents had trouble selling the trips, leaving many of the rooms unrented.
According to MSN Money many small businesses in London are reporting that their sales are down 50 percent in comparison to the same time last year. The Olympics has not been a good economic opportunity for small businesses that rely on tourists.
London has managed to attract 100,00 visitors a day during the Olympics which is more than any other Olympic games, however this is behind their average summer peak of 300,000.
For tourist attractions like the Tower of London and British Museum, their attendance has been down by a third in the last two weeks compared to 2011. A survey from the firm Experian found that shops in central London are suffering as well. Last Saturday shops in central London were down by nearly 12 percent in comparison to the same time one year ago. Even around the Olympic stadium in East London, shops were down by 7.5 percent.
Even taxi drivers are surprisingly feeling the burn. Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, told Sky TV that business definitely hasn't been booming. He said, "Normally, about 90 percent of our customers are Londoners, but they've all left the city and haven't been replaced by tourists. I don't know where all these tourists are or how they're getting about, but London is like a ghost town."