London becomes a Ghost town as two-thirds of Visitors stay away
The Games have helped pull some 100,000 visitors into the capital from overseas, with sports fans eager to watch global superstars such as sprinter Usain Bolt and basketball player LeBron James in action.
But this figure is well below the 300,000 tourists who would normally be expected to visit the city in a typical summer, and the Government was today facing accusations that it had 'over-hyped' the benefits of the Games.
Blocks of available empty seats at supposedly sold-out events have pushed the London Olympic Committee to launch an inquiry.
Leading London attractions see visitor numbers fall by 35 per cent and Hotel bookings in London are 'very substantially down'.
London's black cab drivers brought London to a standstill in a protest against the new 'Olympic lanes' driving restrictions which penalize drivers who stray into a designated Olympic Zil lane with a fine of £130.
Serious security issues and delays at UK airports with terrorist suspects being waved in and G4S the private security firm unable to provide enough staff. The Police and Army were called in at the last minute to check tickets, search bags and provide adequate security for the Olympic games venues.
Residents in east London have had missiles placed on their rooftops to protect the Olympic Games from airborne terrorist attacks and the internet is awash with stories of another 9/11 about to take place.
Businesses near sailing venues in Weymouth and Portland say this year's summer tourist season is the worst in half a century.
Parts of the west end and central London have been likened to a ‘ghost town’ by businesses that fear the stay-away factor could be damaging to the economy.
Shops, museums and theatres have also seen their takings hit, with trade down by as much as 35 per cent.
The Earl of Bradford, owner of Porters restaurant in Covent Garden, said takings had been only £1,600 last Friday, down by more than £4,000, or 72 per cent, on the same day last year.
David Tarsh, of Hotel provider JacTravel, said: 'The Olympics, whilst they have attracted a lot of people for the sport, have created an environment in which regular leisure tourists are put off'.
JacTravel, which books more than 500,000 bookings a year in London, said numbers were 'very substantially down' compared with the same period last year.
'People believe that, if the Olympics are on, the place will be extortionately expensive, overcrowded and hard to get around, and so they don't come.
Cameron urges Brits to return to London after Olympic lull
British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Britons on Thursday to "come back into the capital" after they deserted central London over fears it would be swamped by Olympic tourists.
Londoners were advised to keep out of central London during the Games to ease pressure on the transport system, but with parts of the capital resembling a ghost town, the premier has declared the centre "open for business".
London 2012 Olympics: Olympic ghost town? Anyone who has a business in London is quids in, says Jeremy Hunt
Ministers said today that it was “absolute nonsense” to claim the West End has been turned into a ghost town by the Olympics.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Evening Standard that hotels and other businesses who planned properly for the Games were doing well. He denied that visitor numbers to the West End were down on last year.
He risked outraging traders by saying: “Some West End businesses have done extremely well because they’ve marketed on the back of the Olympics.
“Some businesses have taken a hit, others are doing very well, but overall there is a big increase in business in the East of London.” His message put ministers at odds with theatres, restaurants and retailers who say their takings have plummeted and tables are empty.
Mr Hunt said: “This is absolute nonsense and we have just got to knock this on the head.”