As London firms report low visitor numbers, is hope for an Olympic business boost dead?

YES
Nica Burns

So London has a big hit – the Olympics. A brilliant show, with a cast of outstanding performers – drama, fulfilled and shattered dreams, laughter and tears. It’s a once in a lifetime and we’re riveted. We’re either going to see the events, or we’re watching them on a screen. We’ve listened to the government, which tells us constantly not to travel unless it’s essential. So we’re not coming in to central London. We’re not shopping, going to bars, restaurants or the theatre. Unsurprisingly, fewer people are coming to the fantastic shows in my West End theatres. If business picks up, I’m hoping my takings will be no more than 20 per cent down in September. If it doesn’t, the drop could be as high as 30 per cent. I am going to lose a bit of money this summer, but is hosting the Olympics worth it? Absolutely.

Nica Burns is chief executive and proprietor of Nimax Theatres, owner of six West End theatres.

NO
Mark Greig

Regardless of whether visitor numbers are up or down, London’s winning bid for the Olympics has been a catalyst for change. No advert could be better than what the world has seen so far. Hosting the Games will leave a lasting economic legacy and preparation for the event included a huge investment in infrastructure. A capital city needs excellent transport links and the economic benefits of improvements made for the Games cannot be ignored. Additionally, the regeneration of East London has seen demand and yields for commercial and residential properties in the area increase already. The Olympics have placed London at the centre of the world stage at a time when the euro is weakened. Property in London continues to be a strong and safe asset, and exposure from the Olympics will encourage further long-term investment in the capital.

Mark Greig is chief executive of Paramount Properties.