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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 12:58 UK
Essex tourism urged to capitalise on 2012 Olympic Games
The Olympic Stadium in Stratford
Thousands of visitors to the Olympic Stadium will pass through and stay in Essex

Tourism providers in Essex have been urged to make the most of the extra visitors coming into the county for the London Olympics in 2012.

Around 100 delegates met in Waltham Abbey to discuss the impact the games are likely to have on their industry.

"Whether it's an accommodation provider, an attraction, or local shop - there's an opportunity to benefit," said Andy Edge from Visit Essex.

"If we get it right for the Olympic duration, then we'll get them back."

With its close proximity to the Olympic stadium in Stratford, the mountain biking venue in mountain biking venue in Hadleigh and the Lea Valley White Water Centre on the Essex/Hertfordshire border, the county is set to see a dramatic rise in new visitors to the county.

Mr Edge told BBC Essex businesses needed to be in a position to make the most of summer 2012.

"We need to attract people into the county to go to the venues in Essex or are visiting London," he said.

"We're going to have lots of day visitors and lots of people who are not staying in the county, but coming maybe for the first time.

"So we have to make sure they are welcome, the treatment and the service is spot on."

Jeremy Lucas, Cabinet Member of Heritage Culture and the Arts for Essex County Council, believed the impact of the games would stretch beyond July and August 2012.

People will say 'that's a wonderful place to go, let's go for a holiday next year
Cllr Jeremy Lucas, Essex County Council

"The experience of other countries and cities who've had the Olmypics in recent times is that you don't necessarily get a huge increase in involvement actually at the time, apart from people who are specifically coming with tickets to the event," he said.

"But what does happen is there is a great knock-on effect afterwards, people having seen events on their television will say 'that's a wonderful place to go, let's go for a holiday next year."

The county's transport network will also be affected as the world descends on London in two years time.

Stansted Airport estimates it will have 100,000 extra passengers before, during and after games time.

Head of Transport and Planning, Julia Gregory, explained they were expecting a "phased run-up" in terms of extra traffic.

"Next year we expect to have people coming in for practices and trial games and events," she said.

"Then in 2012 we expect the press to start arriving early, some of the athletes arriving early and then we'll ramp right up in July and through August."

Despite the increased traffic, she promised it would be "business as usual" for other users of the airport.





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