Olympic tourist spend hits £456.9m, says Visa


The UK saw a surge in tourist spending during the first week of the Olympics, up eight per cent on the same week last year, it has been reported today.

Spend on Visa cards has reached a total of £456.9 million according to Visa Europe, which also noted that restaurants, nightclubs and theatres have benefitted from the boost.

Restaurants saw spend rise 19.6 per cent over the week to £12.7 million while nightclub spend increased 24 per cent to £2.1 million as international visitors celebrated their teams‘ sporting successes.

Despite fears that theatres would lose out on visitors, exacerbated by the suggestion of a “bloodbath of a summer” from Andrew Lloyd Webber, spend on theatre and other ticket sales soared 114 per cent last week to £5.3 million.

Visa has been an official sponsor of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games since 1996 and 2002 respectively, though this is the first time that visitors have the option to make contactless payments with either a contactless card or a suitable NFC-enabled mobile phone.

Dr Steve Perry, Commercial Director at Visa Europe, believes that public anticipation for the sporting event has significantly lifted spirits.

“The Games are building a massive feel good factor not just for the host nation but for all those visitors currently enjoying all the UK has to offer,” he said.

“There was plenty to cheer about in the first full week of the Games as total spending on Visa cards by international visitors reached £457 million.

“ It would appear that visitors are out celebrating the success of their athletes in some style with restaurant spending up by almost a fifth and nightclub spending by almost a quarter on this time last year.”