Tag: Olympics

Are the Olympics ‘Toxic’ for Tourism?

That’s the concern in London, where a report from the European Tour Operators Association suggests that host cities routinely overestimate the visitor bounce they’ll receive from the Games. Here’s the Guardian’s Owen Gibson:

Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, has talked of 1 million “extra” visitors coming to the UK for the games.

But the ETOA report claimed that the perception that the host city would be crowded and prices expensive was likely to tarnish the view of the country as a whole.

It said its members were already dealing with the perception that the UK would be crowded and so best avoided in 2012.

For what it’s worth, London, I’m hoping to be there.

VisitBritain Preps Londoners for Olympics Tourism: ‘Don’t Mention the War’

The country’s tourism agency has issued some, er, helpful guidelines for locals in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will be held in London. Among the tips? Don’t serve prepackaged jam to Germans, don’t mention the Falkland Islands to Argentinians and don’t bring up the Mexican-American War with Mexicans. In the accompanying video, a Guardian reporter takes the tips for a test drive.

So Long, Vancouver 2010

The medals have all been handed out and the flame’s been extinguished. Monday saw Vancouver International Airport have its busiest day on record as 39,000 visitors left the host city for home. As for me, I won’t forget joining in the massive red-and-white street party that consumed downtown Vancouver anytime soon—I think my favorite moment had to be seeing a crowd of turbaned Indo-Canadian kids dancing to a bhangra beat to celebrate our victory in men’s hockey, creating their very own wonder of the shrinking planet.

The Big Picture has a top-notch pair of photo essays for your final Olympic Games fix. See you in London?

From Beijing to Vancouver: A Very Different Olympics

From Beijing to Vancouver: A Very Different Olympics REUTERS/Shaun Best
Fans cheer on the Canadian hockey team at the Vancouver Olympics. (REUTERS/Shaun Best)

It’s been nearly two years since I blogged from the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, and—as I thought I might—I now find myself on the Olympic travel trail again, in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games. I’ll be honest: The two host cities couldn’t feel more different.

I stepped off the train from the airport and surfaced in downtown Vancouver this weekend, expecting, perhaps, to feel some uniquely Olympic vibe in the air, familiar to me from my brief time in Beijing. But the scene on Vancouver’s streets has almost nothing in common with the one I encountered two years ago. My memories of Beijing are all broad boulevards, empty except for uniformed Chinese volunteers offering directions to clusters of wandering foreigners, and subdued subway cars full of commuters. Vancouver, in contrast, is a non-stop maple-leaf-painted street party—flag-draped young people careen through the streets, impromptu break dancing circles pop up on corners, and buskers work the crowds. The brightly-dressed foreigners that I remember from Beijing are here, too, but they’re wildly outnumbered by the revelers in red and white.

I suppose there are plenty of economic reasons for the contrast. The 2008 Games probably weren’t as accessible to the average Chinese citizen as these Games are to most Vancouverites, while the expense and difficulty of visiting China could explain why the many young Olympics visitors here were absent in Beijing. (The local high school students I rode the bus home with last night, for instance, weren’t likely to make a transcontinental Olympic trek.) But economics aside, I still feel like there’s a fundamental difference at work: Beijing’s Games, to me, were clearly aimed outward, at the world, while Vancouver’s, so far, feel more like an essentially Canadian party to which everyone else has also been invited.

11 Things You Must Know About Canada

canada maple leaf Photo by Яick Harris, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Frank Bures offers a primer for anyone headed to Vancouver for the Olympics. It's mordant!

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76-Second Travel Show: For the Love of Luge

Just in time for the Vancouver Olympics, Robert Reid on places to try the "fastest sport on ice"

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World Travel Watch: Violence in Cartagena, Evacuations in Peru and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Slate Goes to Vancouver

With the Vancouver Olympics just three weeks away, the latest “Well-Traveled” series sees World Hum contributor Elisabeth Eaves returning to the city of her youth. It’s a good read.

The Olympic Torch Relay, in Pictures

The Big Picture follows the flame’s progress from Olympia and Athens across Canada en route to Vancouver—with stops in Tofino, Old Crow, Kugluktuk and beyond.

Did Airport Security Ruin Chicago’s Olympic Bid?

Did Airport Security Ruin Chicago’s Olympic Bid? Photo by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Michelle Higgins ponders the impact of U.S. border control policies on Chicago’s failed bid for the 2016 Summer Games. For my part, I suppose that could have been a factor—remember the visitor shortfall in Beijing after China tightened its visa restrictions—but beyond any specific considerations, I’m just not sure about the assumption that 2016 was Chicago’s to lose. After all, the United States has already hosted the Olympics eight times, while Rio’s winning bid will mean the first Games ever on South American soil. It’s about time, isn’t it?

Seaweed, Hotels and the Vancouver Olympics

Seaweed, Hotels and the Vancouver Olympics Photo by sashafatcat via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Shangri-La, Vancouver. Photo by sashafatcat via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Today I’m on the west coast of Vancouver Island breaking open the pod from some seaweed and squeezing the gel inside of it over my hands. Ew. Wait. I mean: so natural and healing! Diane Bernard, the self-styled “seaweed lady,” harvests the stuff here, advising spa directors and chefs what might work in their treatments or food, respectively. (We already sampled some seaweed that was begging to be stuffed with blue cheese and plopped into a martini). The gel from this particular strain of seaweed works like aloe, soothing the skin.

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