Key tourist attractions knocked by rainy summer and Olympics

LONDON’S tourism hotspots have been hit hard by a combination of Britain’s wettest summer for 100 years and the distraction of the Olympic Games, an industry group revealed yesterday.

Visitor numbers to London dropped by an average of 15 per cent in the three months to August 2012 compared to the same months in 2011, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).

“In the first couple of weeks of the Olympics, some of the key central London attractions experienced a huge fall of up to 61 per cent in visitor numbers compared to the same weeks last year,” said Bernard Donoghue, chief executive of ALVA.

And the sometimes grim weather did not help. The gardens and leisure sector – which includes Kew Gardens and London Zoo – saw a 21.3 per cent slump in visitor numbers.

In the heritage and cathedrals sector, with locations such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, tourist numbers dropped by 20.3 per cent, knocking their retail sales by 20.2 per cent.

The Olympics fortnight was “one of their worst trading periods in living memory” for London’s tourist attractions, Donoghue added.