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Olympotastic? Not quite - Olympics brought fewer, not more tourists to the UK

Those that did visit during the Olympic Games spent more Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Figures out from the Office for National Statistics this morning show that despite our amazing summer of sport, the number of visitors to the UK during the period of the Olympics and Paralympics was actually lower than in previous years.

The numbers have not shifted that much year on year but it is in line with a trend, with fewer tourists coming in June and July too.

The better news is that they spent more cash compared with August last year, contributing more to the UK economy.

Olympic visitors spent nearly double the average spend, £1290 compared to £650. But that includes the price of tickets, not how much they spent on hotels, shopping, restaurants or anything else.

Given that overall, visitors to the Games contributed more to our economy than tourists do in a normal month then these early signs suggest the Olympics did give our economy a little lift.

It will be quite some time before we are able to identify the long term effect. But given it appears more people actually stayed away from the UK, the impact was not quite Olympotastic.