The Impact of the Olympics on Local Economy


    According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of unemployment fell by 7,000 to 2.59 million in July and London contributes most to the number. We think of the Olympics as an opportunity for host country to build the country image, attract foreign visitors and boost the local economy. However, in a long-term perspective, the Olympic game brings limited economic benefits to the host country and the degree of its impact varies widely between countries.
     Countries hosting the Olympics spend millions of dollars building new sports facilities and infrastructures, which, in short-term, indeed brings increasing number of tourists. They visit the newly built stadium, pools and sports facilities. However, as the game ends, people move on to the next Olympic game. Unlike other infrastructures, these sports facilities and constructions will not be rebuilt into some productive and economic effective buildings that can be used for further investment. The long-term economic benefits gained from pure tourism are doubtful and limited. Further, by attracting tourists in the short-term, the host country creates for itself an image of crowd and congestion, which to some extent make it lose potential tourists. The tourism boom also increases the local hotel prices, restaurant prices, and leads to an inflation that prevents potential tourists from coming. These are the unavoidable negatives that host countries may confront both in short-terms and long-terms. 
     Yet, since Beijing has been authorized to host the 29th Olympic games, its average increase in GDP from 2002 to 2007 is 12.1% and according to statistical research, the Olympic game accounts for 1% increase each year. Beijing pays for its long-term impact: it invests 370 billion dollars, which is more than other industrialized countries such as America and Australia’s expenses. Unlike London, a country with a rooted image of well development and prosperity, China has been consistently finding opportunities to open its door of both trade and culture to the world since it joined the WTO in 2001. The Olympics stimulates the world’s interest in China, which is a new land with potential resources to invest and explore as it presents itself during the Olympics. Even though the unemployment rate in London drops greatly in short-term, the economy boost in London can hardly last as long as that in China for its saturated tourism market. 
Ruijia Tan.


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