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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 16:01 UK
2012 Olympics 'will not scare off' Weymouth tourists
Weymouth beach and Esplanade
The council hope for 35,000 daily visitors during the 2012 Olympics

A Dorset council has said there is no need for tourists to be "scared off" from visiting during the 2012 Olympics.

A report by the European Tour Operators Association suggests regular tourists stay away as towns host Olympic events as they may assume it will be "full".

ETOA director Tom Jenkins said: "The idea [we will be] inundated with foreign visitors is misplaced."

Howard Legg from Weymouth & Portland council said: "The Olympics will be an exciting time to visit Weymouth."

But Mr Legg admitted he is concerned about the effects of the Games on Weymouth and Portland, which is jointly hosting the sailing events of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.

He said: "[The information in this report ] is nothing new to us. We know that half of the places where there had been an Olympics had seen no boost to tourism, and the other half had seen a boost."

"We are determined to be one of the places that is boosted by an Olympics."

Cultural events

Weymouth harbour
The council is already working to secure a post-Olympic legacy

But Tom Jenkins from the European Tour Operators Association, who issued the report, believes normal tourist business could suffer during the Games.

He said: "We've looked at previous Olympics [Sydney, Athens and Beijing] and looked at hotel occupancy and it seems pretty clear that you can expect 20,000 - 30,000 foreign visitors on an average Olympic night.

"London normally entertains around a quarter of a million foreign visitors every day in London and the danger [during the 2012 Games] is we scare off the foreign visitors and replace them with Olympic visitors - they're not interested in behaving like other tourists."

He suggests that Weymouth and Portland should look at what has happened with other towns and cities who have hosted Olympic sailing events before.

But Mr Legg said Weymouth and Portland is already putting measures in place to ensure the longer term benefits of the Games, including a series of cultural events and by asking local traders to not increase their prices.

He said: "[The Olympics is] not necessarily a golden goose. There will be opportunities but don't presume you're going to take advantage of it by putting prices up."

Mr Legg also cited the road traffic management plan currently underway in Weymouth designed to ease traffic congestion.

Mr Legg said: "It doesn't get any bigger than the Olympics.

"But we all have to recognise there could be pitfalls as well."


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