London,Travel

Reasons To Be Cheerful: Visit London in 2012

20 Mar , 2012  

A bit of grin and bear it, A bit of come and share it, You’re welcome, we can spare it…

London Olympics transport chaos

Business as usual or chaos? Nobody seems to have men­tioned that ‘busi­ness as usual’ in London is pre­dic­ated on chaos. A finely tuned state of per­petual dis­aster to be aver­ted at the last moment. It has been this way forever and the 2012 Olympics will be the latest bene­fi­ciary of London’s great tal­ent for bodging, impro­visa­tion and unex­pec­ted moments of tran­scend­ence. I expect Londoners to spend the next six months com­plain­ing about col­lapsing trans­port infra­struc­ture, high-handed IOC offi­cial­dom, a down­turn in trade for much of the cap­ital, and the fact that none of us got tick­ets.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Afterwards, they will remem­ber the buzz, the amaz­ing events that popped up all over the city dur­ing 2012, and the Dunkirk Spirit that accom­pan­ied each suc­cess­ive cock-up. I also pre­dict a short­age of bar­be­cue char­coal as City traders work­ing from home finally dis­cover that men are able to mul­ti­task, espe­cially with a nice cold Chablis.

Yes yes, Dear dear, Perhaps next year

ETOA projection for London 2012

Tourists will avoid London dur­ing 2012: The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) did a study of hotel accom­mod­a­tion at pre­vi­ous Olympic Games and came up with some wor­ry­ing con­clu­sions: From July 27th to 12th August, London is going to be very busy, but not as busy as pre­dicted. The rest of the year will be thin at best while Olympic vis­it­ors, the IOC, press and media flood into the cap­ital a few days before the start, many pack their bags before the clos­ing cere­mony.

The Olympic Games is a big event, but not over­whelm­ingly so. According to our estim­ates, every Games des­tin­a­tion sold less than an aver­age of 20,000 rooms per night to inter­na­tional guests. But as the des­tin­a­tion thinks it is going to be full, so do poten­tial tour­ists. During an Olympics the nor­mal motiv­a­tion they have to come is mod­i­fied by a fear of crowds, dis­rup­tion and high prices. The res­ult of this com­bined mis­per­cep­tion can be a cata­strophic mix of high expect­a­tion and low demand.” (ETOA)

Reasons to be Cheerful: Visitors with strong nerves and hag­gling skills will be able to find dis­counts as hotels real­ise their non-Olympic voids need filling. For Londoners wish­ing to flee the Capital, the dis­place­ment effect pre­dicts that Paris may have last-minute bar­gains as long-haul tour­ists give the whole of Western Europe a thumbs-down dur­ing Summer 2012. Visitors look­ing for private rent­als have star­ted to dis­cover that although some prop­er­ties have been laugh­ably over­priced, the increas­ing num­ber of own­ers book­ing flights to IOC-free zones for July and August means that a degree of prag­mat­ism has begun to pre­vail. This will begin when hotels and tour oper­at­ors start releas­ing increas­ingly large waves of unsold rooms, tick­ets and pack­ages.

Hammersmith Palais, The Bolshoi Ballet

London 2012 Festival

London 2012 Festival: The Ancient Greek Olympic Games were not just about indi­vidual ath­letic prowess, they were an oppor­tun­ity for com­pet­ing states to play polit­ics and impress the neigh­bours. The show­ing-off included reli­gious cere­mon­ies, sac­ri­fices, poetry, sculp­ture — stuff with wow-factor. Confusingly, the London 2012 Festival is not the Cultural Olympiad, it’s just the part which annexed all the best bits; as Ruth Mackenzie, dir­ector of the Cultural Olympiad, explains, “Ideas which truly could be described as Once In A Lifetime oppor­tun­it­ies, as amaz­ing as the Games them­selves”.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Cashflow-chal­lenged Londoners without Provençal escape routes will be look­ing for some­thing else to do. With a sur­feit of cul­tural hap­pen­ings and fewer tour­ists to com­pete with, this Summer should be one long arty party (weather per­mit­ting). As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee so non-trendy types have some­thing to cel­eb­rate.

That’s got to be more than 3 good reas­ons to visit London in 2012; do you need any more?

Words & pho­tos: © 2012 Ken Sparkes. All Rights Reserved. Written for Accommodate London. The flag was made by Louise Laycock at Bennison Fabrics.

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