Ghost town London: 'Victims of our own success'

Not as busy as expected as the Olympics continues in London
Not as busy as expected as the Olympics continues in London
Alex Stevenson By

London 2012 organisers have denied the capital's economy is suffering after overegging warnings about congestion in the capital.

Locog chief executive Paul Deighton told journalists he rejected "the general sense of London being terribly quiet" in a press conference this morning, as complaints about the economic impact of the Games continue to mount.

Research group Experian has warned that customer footfall levels were down by over ten per cent on Saturday. The European Tour Operators Assocation says foreign visitors are down by as much as 50%.

Expected congestion on London's public transport system has not yet materialised, with many commutes notably quieter than usual. London West End box offices have also suffered.

London mayor Boris Johnson's recorded message warning of "huge pressure" on public transport was scrapped today, but officials insisted that had always been planned.

"I think people enjoyed that long enough to move on," Deighton said.

"I think this is levelling out in a very satisfactory way... in the very short-term, there will be some changes in the pattern, but in the long-term, given the images of London being sent around the world, it will be a huge economic boost to the capital."

But he added: "Sometimes you are victims of your own success."

Locog chair Sebastian Coe rejected reports that Covent Garden had been hit especially hard by limited tourism numbers.

"These are always nuanced and balanced judgements," he commented.

Boris' recorded message to Londoners and visitors to the capital had irked some. The message began: "Hi folks! This is the mayor here." Transport for London said it had always planned to stop the broadcasts after the first Olympic weekday on Monday.


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