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Don't over-price for Olympics, Canadians warn hoteliers

21 July 2010

UK hoteliers should resist the temptation to indulge in price-gouging during the London 2012 Olympics if they want to enjoy the longer-term benefits of hosting the Games.

That's the advice from the man responsible for marketing Canada to the rest of the world as part of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics: Greg Klassen, senior vice-president, marketing strategy and communications, for the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC).

Speaking following a meeting with tourism minister John Penrose last week, Klassen told Caterer: "Businesses need to be very welcoming and very inviting. Resist the urge to price for the Olympics and consider pricing for the next 10 years instead.

"The idea is that you don't want to have a position where these become known as the price-gouging Olympics or the rip-off Olympics."

He added: "The media is going to be in town and they are going to stick microphones in front of a whole bunch of visitors to get their opinions on their experience in London. Their answers are going to be critical in supporting the reputation of London and the UK in the future."

Klassen's comments come almost exactly two years before the start of the London Olympics, which kick off on 27 July 2012.

Meanwhile Chris Foy, the head of VisitBritain's 2012 Games Unit, revealed that 450 businesses have now signed up to its Fair Pricing and Practice Charter, which it launched in conjunction with VisitLondon last year.

"This demonstrates that the industry as a whole is taking a serious look at the role it can play in the Olympics and its contribution towards the brand of Britain," Foy said.

The Olympics are expected to bring in an extra £2.1b in revenue for the UK tourism industry, according to a study for VisitBritain by Oxford Economics, although £1.7b of that is expected to come after the Games have finished.

Meanwhile, the Office of National Statistics is currently projecting how many visitors are expected to come to the UK for the Olympics in order to give hotels and suppliers a realistic picture of demand. The figures are due to be released by October.

By Neil Gerrard

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