02/15/2011

The tourists are coming (maybe)

Tourism
Travel agents are predicting that the Royal Wedding is going to be a boon to recession-ravagged London: 

The royal nuptials planned for Friday, April 29 have seen a surge in the number of people planning to visit the city, particularly from the United States and continental Europe, London's Evening Standard newspaper reported on Friday.
Travel website Expedia.co.uk reported a 266 per cent rise in bookings for the weekend, representing some 1.1 million visitors per day, the newspaper said.
'The royal wedding is proving a welcome stimulus for the travel industry and we have seen a significant increase in bookings from travellers seeking to watch the spectacle,' Expedia spokesman Andrew Warner said.

And it appears that the travel industry won't be the only beneficiary. Some enterprising Londoners are planning to flee the city and rent our their homes for a princely sum.

London's roughly 120,000 hotel rooms are nowhere near enough to accommodate the hordes of royalty buffs expected for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. That means many Londoners plan to do what they always do whenever a big event hits town - rent out their homes for a huge profit.

And would-be travellers got a little good news from British Airways recently, after the union said that if there is more strike action this spring, it will steer clear of the royal wedding.

Speaking to the BBC this month, [general secretary of Britain's largest union, Len] McCluskey indicated that Unite members would be reluctant to strike during the royal wedding. "It is a bank holiday. I doubt whether many of our members will want to take strike action," he said.

But what's this? The tourism numbers are a sham?! Say it ain't so! But alas, a Visit Britain researcher delivered the grim news a while ago.

But two days after the engagement was announced, Visit Britain's head of research and forecasting, David Edwards, emailed colleagues with what he described as "more actual 'evidence'".
"If we look at the marriage of Andrew and Sarah in July 1986 we find that across the year as a whole there were 4% fewer visitors to Britain than in 1985, but that in July [1986] there were 8% fewer than in July of 1985," he said. "While this and the results relating to 1981 are inconclusive, such as it is, the evidence points to royal weddings having a negative impact on inbound tourism."

Geez. Next they're going to tell us that Lemmings don't periodically jump to their deaths

But perhaps standing along Whitehall in a chilly London drizzle isn't your bag anyway. Fear not. Princess Cruises has announced that it will broadcast the royal wedding live on its ships. Just imagine toasting the royal couple with a mojito as you steam through the Caribbean. Does it get any better?

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