London Mayor Boris Johnson seems ready to declare the 2012 Olympics a tourism success. The far-from-proper pol, who took digs at Mitt Romney when the candidate had the temerity to suggest England had not adequately prepared for the games, welcomed reports Monday showing that his city is seeing an increase in revenue and handling the Olympic traffic.
"This is testimony to years of meticulous planning and billions of pounds in investment which combined has ensured that athletes, spectators, officials and media are being ferried smoothly to their events,” Johnson said of the report, which showed business districts had seen foot traffic bump of roughly 16 percent over last year.
The Independent reports that retailers around London are seeing increased sales, with the areas around Piccadilly, Haymarket and St. James benefiting more than most.
Prior to the Olympics, a number of experts, authorities and talking heads, expressed concerns about the Tube’s ability to handle an increased passenger load. But the Underground has held up, reports The Daily Telegraph, handling some 4.4 million customers on Friday, more than on any other day in its history.
Friday’s record broke the record set on Thursday when 4.31 million people used the tube. Johnson said that traffic spiked in the West End over the weekend -- good news for local retailers who had yet to benefit from the games. Transport For London told Bloomberg last week that the area had not experienced the boom enjoyed across town, closer to the stadiums.
“These indicators show that across London we are helping millions of people head into town to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy all that our fantastic city has to offer during this momentous period," said Johnson.
According to The Telegraph, the Mayor added that he’d been particularly gratified by the crowds packing into the city to cheer on Triathlon and Marathon competitors, especially in light of Great Britain’s medal haul over the weekend.
Whether or not any success during the games will translate to continued tourism after the venues empty out remains to be seen.