Famously bearish economist Nouriel Roubini has branded the Olympics an “economic failure”, saying Londoners have left the city and tourists have stayed away following “excess warnings”.
The Games (click for moreon the Olympic Games) were meant to boost tourism in the United Kingdom and in London in particular with an extra million visitors a day, but many shopkeepers have reported a drop in activity.
Warnings of enormous pressure on the city’s public transport network and overcrowding in the city’s busiest districts prompted many Londoners to book holidays or work from home during the Games, while tourists have shunned the West End which contains many of London’s biggest attractions.
Research group Experian said the Olympics appear to have adversely affectedthe number of people visiting shops in West London, with decreases week-on-week and year-on-year of 11.65 percent and 12.40 percent respectively on the first Saturday of the Games.
On the first Sunday however, visitors numbers were up marginally.
“The Olympics are an economic failure as London is totally empty: hotels, restaurants, streets,” Roubini tweeted. “It turns out London is totally empty. A zombie city.”
“The West End – usually packed on any Saturday night – was an empty waste land last night: barely a soul to be found in theatres, bars, etc,” he said on Twitter. “They pushed most Londoners to escape, they told 2 million to work at home.”
He blamed U.K. policymakers for scaring citizens and tourists alike in the run-up to the Games.