UK tour operators are complaining of a plummet in advance bookings of visitors coming to London this Summer causing concern for theatres over the footfall through their doors despite the Olympics. Joanne Nicholson reports.
REPORTER: Packed streets outside London's West End theatres are the norm during the height of the tourist season. World famous musicals and plays are a huge draw to the UK's capital. But this summer, visitors are coming to London to watch the Olympics, and many feel a night at the theatre won't be on the agenda. Tom Jenkins is from the European tour operators association. They've warned tour operators were seeing a 90 percent nose dive in bookings while the Olympics are on.
TOM JENKINS: "I think what we're going to find is that the regular tourists have been scared away during the Games, they've been replaced by sports fans and I fear domestically not anything like the same number of people. But these sports fans are not going to behave like regular tourists." It's not a concern for those in theatreland, though. The Society of London Theatres (SOLT) says this summer will be the first in years in which every single West End theatre has a show on. Simon Warwick is from the theatre ticket retailer, Lovetheatre.com.
SIMON WARWICK: "It's business as usual - the theatres are open, the bookings are only slightly...well the bookings are up for this year as far as the Society of London Theatres say, the advances are down as I've just commented. People are not committing as far in advance as they usually do so that affects the advances. So producers do get nervous, they say 'I'm not really sure what's going on here, oh it's all going to horrible'. I think there will be packed theatres. I really do." Ever optimistic, some shows are pulling out all the stops to ensure audiences will come to London to be entertained. Burlesque dancer from the Hurly Burly show, Polly Rae.
POLLY RAE: "I have heard that people are worried and obviously that is something that we all had to consider when we thought about bringing the show back to the West End at this time of year, but obviously for us you know we are just about enticing those people who are going to be in town and we really do feel we have something for those punters, do you know what I mean, something different, something fun, something that they can go back to their home countries and talk about."
REPORTER: Even though advance sales are down on tickets for the period of the Olympics, it seems it's part of a wider trend, as audiences become savvy to the fact bargains can be had if tickets are snapped up last minute. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters.
• Olympic bargains galore as London's theatres and hotels slash rates (The Guardian)