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Olympics won't lead to records

10 August 2012
Olympics won't lead to records

The message that people should resist travelling during the Olympics means business will not break records, says Langdale Chase MD Thomas Noblett

While we have experienced one of the wettest and coldest summers on record here in the Lake District, with the rain still gently falling over lakes and fells, the capital city is enjoying warmth and blue skies.

Many have gone on record suggesting the London Olympics 2012 will bring an economic boost not to just to London, but to other destinations around the country. But here in the Lake District the hype of extortionate hotel prices, traffic chaos and possible strike actions, has meant people have thought it is not worth it.

Our business is on a par with last year, which in itself would not break any record. Again hotels here in the Lake District believed that the overspills from other regions would naturally divert visitors here - so far it just hasn't materialised.

Is it just restricted to us in the Lake District? Again, no. My general manager Andrew Tighe had a ticket for the opening ceremony and had his choice of various hotel establishments at vastly-discounted prices.

I think the misconception was that we would be overrun with high-spend tourists from all over the world, with pocketfuls of cash who were ready to spend on exorbitant hotel prices. The reality is they stayed at home.

What about our own Staycation market, for which the Lake District relies on for 90% of business. Again, I think potential visitors thought the best thing was to stay at home and watch the Olympics from their living room.

Who is to blame? It has to be certain sections of the media. The same happened in the big freeze over the winter and the tragic floods of 2009 which sent a message around the world that the Lake District was a no-go area.

We had many cancellations and pre-booked wedding guests concerned they would be using lilos as seats. Even though we were genuinely telling them everything was OK, once the seed has been sewn the public follow.

Do I think the Olympics is good for us in the long term? Most definitely, and once the hype is over and the Olympics are over, I think we are well positioned to enjoy a lift in business.

The images that have been beamed across the world to billions of people showing London and our green and pleasant land can only entice them.

So, as I leave the hotel to go looking for tourists, I have one last shout at the TV - Go team GB!
Thomas Noblett is managing director of the Langdale Chase hotel in Windermere, Cumbria

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