The European Tour Operators Association recently published a report, titled “Inbound Tourists Go Away and Stay Away for the Olympics,” which reinforces the conclusions of a study it published two years ago that hosting the Olympic Games typically stalls tourism growth.
According to the report, the information coming in from China shows that newly-built hotels are standing near empty in the run-up to the Olympic Games. The latest data to emerge from Greece and Australia suggest that tourism to the host country is harmed even more than to the host city.
Tom Jenkins, the association’s executive director, explains: “The principal problem is the impression that everything will be overcrowded and overpriced and this blights a region.”
Looking at the latest figures for tourism development, the report refers to visitor arrivals to Athens and regional Greece: “Greece has failed to keep pace with its leading competitors, Croatia and Turkey, and the performance gap is widening with the growth in visitor arrivals trailing that of Turkey by more than 20 percent per year since the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.” The report shows that the figures for Sydney and Australia are similar, for example, in relation with New Zealand.
He concluded by pointing out that what has been seen in city after city, over the past Olympics, are unrealistic expectations, which are ultimately met with real shortfalls in demand.
The European Tour Operators Association, since its foundation in 1989, has grown exponentially to include over 350 member organizations, of which 102 are tour operators. The association provides representation at the European government level for companies involved in bringing tourists to Europe and also influences European tourism policy and legislation.