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British tourism dip during Olympics

Sept. 14, 2012 at 9:35 AM

LONDON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Fewer foreign travelers visited London in July during the Summer Olympics than they did the previous year, Britain's Office for National Statistics said.

Businesses in London had expected an additional $26.7 million injected into the economy leading up to and during the Olympic games, though statistics showed fewer people visited the city than the same time the previous year, The Daily Telegraph reported.

There were 3.18 million trips by foreign travelers to Britain in July, compared to 3.36 million last year, the ONS said. Tourists spent $3.24 billion in July, down from $3.45 billion last year.

Restaurant and shop owners in London told the Guardian business was slow during the Olympics -- held July 27 to Aug. 12 -- after warnings of an overladen public transport system.

"The London Games were won seven years ago. We have all known that this was coming. There has been ample time to plan for it," said Hugh Robertson, Olympics minister.

Despite the dip in tourism in July, the number of visits to Britain by foreign tourists was up by 1 percent for the first seven months of the year, ONS said.

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