By Christina Latham
With the Olympics drawing to a close and the dawn of the Paralympics upon us, has it been a success for local businesses and people or has it been a strain?
There is no doubt that the Olympics have generated a great morale boost because of the amount of gold medals that the UK has won. However, for many Fitzrovia residents and local businesses the Olympics has been something that they would rather see the end of.
Perhaps this is because of the change to their usual commute. The tube which is usually like a sardine can is now a swarm of excited tourists. Tube etiquette which was once –ignore everyone and whatever you do… do not smile — has converted to a burst of energy and conversations about sport. Now, to the unknowing tourist this may appear a positive thing. However, it is hard to get excited about Jess Ennis when you are jammed into someone’s arm pit on your way to work.
Simon Mullins from The Salt Yard group told us that the Olympics had been a defeat rather than a triumph:
“Our lunch trade has virtually evaporated into thin air as many local offices have encouraged their staff to work from home or go on holiday. Tourists, who are here, are here for the Olympics, which is great if your business is in or near an Olympic venue, and tragic if you’re not! Hey hoe, let’s enjoy the rising Team GB medal count and think of the more positive long term effects on London. Will more tourist visitors or foreign investment come to the capital as a result of these games? Only time will tell.”
However, some of Fitzrovia’s residents have embraced the games. James Muir has thoroughly enjoyed the Olympics.
“I’m wondering what I will do when it is over! I have been to three different events now and the atmosphere was amazing.”
Therefore, perhaps it depends on whether your business is affected, whether you are a sport lover or whether you hate crowds. The Salt Yard is proof that Olympics have not been a great experience for everyone. Yes it has been fun and the coverage has been phenomenal. However, it seems that really the business that has benefited most from the Olympics is one of its sponsors: McDonalds. You’ve seen the annoying adverts ‘the here you go-er, the edge of your seat-er’ or perhaps ‘the prefer it when it’s abroad-er’.