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sands of visitors brought with them more spending power and gave a useful kick-start to the sluggish retail economy. Shopping levels in particular were up and pub sales were reportedly higher than normal for July and August.

The event presented an opportunity for those in the hospitality sector to showcase what they can do. The Games sites were host to numerous catering outlets, and the Olympic Park had the biggest McDonalds in the world! But wider afield many restaurants across London and the South East stepped up their efforts to welcome the world, by putting on special menus for the Games.

There were of course some negative elements. There was a constant controversy about empty seats at many venues which were supposed to be sold out before the Games and which had to be filled by the Army, and other volunteers, as corporate and VIP guests did not take up their allocations.

Also in some respects also the Games did not have the posi- tive impact it was hoped for. In nearby Brick Lane, designated the Curry Capital for 2012, there was no real boom with busi- ness reported to be ‘much as usual’ by many restaurants.

In the West End restaurants were facing an even tougher time, with some claiming that takings were down about 70 per cent during the Games. With workers, residents and visitors staying away from potentially busy areas, it seems restaurant swithout Olympics venues near by were not able to attract the extra trade they were expecting

Edmund Farrow, manager at Tibits in London, said,”We were very well prepared and had dome everything asked of us and more. But it seems all that preparation was done in vain.”

There was a strong feeling that potential visitors were scared off by travel warnings predicting congestion. As a result many people stayed at home or went outside London. This was a disappointment and while the British Hospitality Association urged the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to take action to encour- age more visitors into central London, very little was done to tackle the issue.

Some associated business failed. The Africa Village in Kensington collapsed owing reportedly hundreds of thousands of pounds to suppliers. A Pleasure Ground in Greenwich also went under due to less visitors than expected with some trad- ers complaining that the organisers were directing passing trade away from their businesses .

Overall though these seem minor gripes against the back- ground of what was a truly historic, wonderful event for the country. There were in the end winners and losers on and off the track but ‘Team GB’, in its widest sense, came out most definitely a winner.

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