With the 2012 London Olympics only a few months away, the expected influx of foreign athletes and tourists is expected to create a boom for ticketed events and tours throughout the United Kingdom.
The Olympics organizing committee, LOCOG, has estimated that upwards of one million tourists will descend on London this summer. The increase in tourism will translate, many hope, to boosted ticket sales and admission numbers even for non-Olympics events across the region.
Tourism companies throughout England have organized outings to the various Olympic sites, as well as general tours of English cities and attractions, to capitalize on the Summer Games. But the industry could receive an extra jolt of star-powered ticket sales, if recent speculation holds true.
Published reports out of England have pegged former Beatles star Sir Paul McCartney as a potential entrant into UK tourism. The musician was quoted as saying that he hopes to start his own tour company in Liverpool in order to “give something back to the locals” of his native town.
“I would really love to start a sightseeing business. I have my own ‘magical mystery tours’ of the city, my own special route I go on, and I think other people would love it, too,” McCartney was quoted by the UK’s Daily Star. “I want to give something back to the locals.”
However, without confirmed plans in place, Olympics-centered tourists may not be able to take advantage of any new business backed by Macca.
Still, McCartney’s star power is already a time-tested ticket seller — from his earliest days in the industry, to his most recent solo tours. Tourist interest in McCartney and Beatles-era history alone could be enough to drive Olympics attendees out of London and into the northern-England city where The Beatles got their start.
In 2007, the musician received a special award for boosting tourist rates in Liverpool. At the time, England Marketing Advisory Board chairman Hugh Taylor said that McCartney’s “influence on the success of Liverpool’s tourism cannot be understated.”
The Olympics are expected to have a large impact on tourism-driven ticket sales throughout London and other English cities. In August 2011, many shows staged in London’s West End theatre district extending booking periods through the 2012 Olympics to draw early interest — and advance ticket sales — from Game attendees searching for non-sporting diversions.
In many ways, these tourism-related marketing ploys and advanced event ticket sales have run more smoothly than ticketing for the actual Olympics. The Games’ public ticket sales have been fraught with difficulties, both in terms of technical snafus and public relation flare-ups.