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Political, Social and Economic Impacts of London Olympics

In: Historical Events

Submitted By bella91
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The Olympic Games are a set of international sports competitions held every four years since 1896, regrouping over 10,500 athletes from different nations, participating to nearly 300 different sports (Australian Olympic Committee, 2009). They are one of the most renowned events in the world, and have the ability of attracting the attention of a worldwide audience and to produce important impacts on the country or region that hosts them. After hosting the Olympics two times in 1908 and 1948, London will beat the records this year by being the first country holding three Olympic Games and, in the same way as the previous Games, the 2012 Olympics are going to have major impacts on the country on several industries (Australian Olympic Committee, 2009). This essay will mainly discuss the political, social and economic long-term impacts that hosting the 2012 Olympic Games will have on the city of London in relation to the Events Industry.

This first part of the essay will discuss the political impacts of the Olympics on the Events Industry.

Over time, the Olympic Games have become “irreparably intertwined with politics” and have generated a good political image on the hosting country as they served as a tool of global publicity. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been a positive thing as it often led to bribery and corruption. For example, in 1936 the Nazi Party used the Games to promote German superiority. This is why the International Olympics Committee (IOC) former president Avery Brundage toughly attempted to “separate sports from politics”, but regrettably, “it seems that countries will aim to use their teams as a tool, rather than an example of what they can achieve.” (Imperial College Olympics Report, 2011)

Protests, terrorism and boycotts are three other concerns when it comes to the Olympics.
Often, as a result of the media focus on the region hosting the Olympics, small groups of civilians take advantage of this situation to draw attention to their cause by organising non- violent protests, which are usually done in a way to maintain a good public image. However, there are some cases where these protests are not well managed and result in riots and deaths. This is the case of Mexico City for example, where the government didn’t manage the situation well enough when student protests grew larger and larger, resulting in the arrest of approximately 2000 students and in the death of another 300. (Imperial College Olympics Report, 2011)

As well as protests, terrorism is another issue encountered during big events, which doesn’t only causes damage, death and terror but it also prominently affects politics. The worst tragedy in Olympics was in 1972, when eight Arab terrorists intruded Munich’s Olympic Village and took hostage of 11 Israeli athletes before killing them (Pearson Education, 2007) Since this massacre, major security policies have been installed and a significant amount of money is spent on security during the every Olympics Games. In instance, the security budget for London 2012 Olympics is set to exceed 1 billion pounds (Eccles, L., Mail Online, 2011).

Finally, concerning the 2012 Games, an interesting political topic is the Queen hiring one of her private gardens to host private VIP events for the Russians, who are going to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Perks Field, situated besides Kensington Palace is a garden that is usually used for sports practice as well as a landing site for the Queen's helicopter. Well known athletes such as tennis star Maria Sharapova as well as a number of Russian oligarchs and dignitaries and celebrities will be attending these events, and will require an impeccable organisation and setting. Therefore, a well- known events organising company, Eventica has planned ‘to erect a giant double-deck marquee as part of a "Russian cultural festival" also featuring a stage, five sponsors' exhibition tents, catering area, bar, "garden lodge-style" picnic area with parasols and a display for Sochi 2014.’ (Lydall, R. and Beard, M., London Evening Standard, 2011)
According to the Evening Standard’s article “Queen hires out garden to Russia”, “the renting of Perks Field is a way of managing and adding to the budget of the Sovereign Grant over the next three years."

The 2012 Olympic Games are also going to have a Social Impact on the events industry with new venues and facilities. These include transport upgrades, such as the redevelopment of underground stations, the extension of London Underground lines and of the DLR, as well as the construction of a Channel Tunnel Shuttle link from Stratford to Kings Cross, the government has invested 1 billion pounds for the improvement on London East lines.

There will also be new business services and sports facilities, which will bring significant opportunities to support new firm development, supply chain improvement and cluster formation within local North- East London and wider London Economies.

Moreover, the Olympic Village will be converted into 5,000 new homes and new facilities will be set for the local communities, with a major regeneration of Stratford City. However, the risks from this regeneration are that London’s poorer people could be affected by increasing rents and therefore, they would be forced out of their homes. However, due to London’s large economy, this risk isn’t so serious, and “there is some protection from acute price rises during the Games.” (Imperial College Olympics Report, 2011)

The Olympics are also going to have an impact on the culture and community, as it is going to strengthen regional traditions and values, and increase national pride and community service. The game will involve a culturally diverse society, due to the fact that the Olympic Park is situated in one of the most diverse areas of the country, and bring a better quality of life for the individuals and community, as it will promote sports activities and programmes to demonstrate that physical activity can have positive impacts on people’s lives.

Tourism is expected to increase this year, not only because of the Olympics but also because it is the Queen Jubilee year, which is a great advantage for Great Britain as it is likely to increase the revenue of the whole country.(Jenkins, S., London Evening Standard, 2012 )

The Olympic Games also brought many short- term jobs to the country for the organisation of the Olympics, which leads to a big boost to the economy, especially within the Olympic zone, where unemployment is high.

According to London Evening Standard’s article “Queen's jubilee and Games give rise to host of street parties”, the Games and the Queen’s Jubilee have given rise to street parties, where communities can meet and enjoy shows, try all kinds of food, drink and have fun. A woman who annually organises a street party in her street said: “Our street is made for a street party, but on top of that the jubilee and the Olympics are the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together. Last year's party resulted in us setting up a social committee for our street." (Bryant, M., London Evening Standard, 2012)

This last paragraph will discuss the economic impacts brought by the Olympic Games 2012.

To commence with, the budget for London 2012 Olympics is of approximately 9.5 billion pounds. (Ruddick, G., The Telegraph, 2012)

It is planned that the Games will be creating a lot of jobs, including construction and hospitality jobs in hotels, restaurants and bars, especially after the regeneration of Stratford and the rest of East London, including the opening of the biggest shopping mall in Europe, Stratford Westfield Shopping Centre. There are also going to be more events jobs, with the increase in festivals, concerts, sporting events and other activities all over the country. There will be 38,000 new permanent jobs in Stratford city only, which will have a positive impact on East London’s economy.(London Property Ltd, 2012)

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a large amount of money will be invested in the transport system and in the housing. In fact, 10,000 new homes are going to be constructed in Stratford area, which has been branded by many leading property agents as the "best place to invest in Europe"(London Property Ltd, 2012). International property consultants King Sturge commented in their recent Olympics Bulletin: "The development of Stratford as an international transport interchange coincides with the upgrading of the regional station, the extension of the DLR, the development of the Stratford City and the development of the Olympic Park. Over the next five years Stratford will change almost beyond recognition and offers significant development and investment opportunities...” (London Property Ltd, 2012)

The number of tourist is going to increase importantly and could therefore contribute positively to the country’s economy by increasing its GDP. However, BBC News Article “Olympic Tourism Impact ‘concern’’ states that ‘the 2012 Olympic Games may have a "detrimental" impact on tourism in London’. According to this article, most of the cities hosting the Olympics were hit by an important decrease in tourism and a loss in their revenues after hosting the Olympic Games months following the Olympics. In fact, Beijing saw 2.5 million fewer visitors coming to their country and lost 1.5 billion in revenues. (“Olympics tourism impact 'concern'”, BBC News, 2012)

There is going to be a contribution from the British government to the Games in order to cover the costs spent such as the general sporting costs and the supportive infrastructure of the event, but especially the cost of security, which is planned to exceed £1 billion, and of the opening and closing ceremonies, which are set to cost £7 million per hour. (Eccles, L., Mail Online, 2011).

Moreover, a visa report predicts that London 2012 will break the record regarding consumer spending during the Olympic and Paralympic Games by earning 5.3 billion pounds in the period of 7 weeks. (Visa Europe, 2012)

Finally, up to 75,000 businesses all over the country will get supply chain to supply goods and services to the Games. (Eccles, L., Mail Online, 2011).

To conclude with, London 2012 Olympic Games will have both positive and negative impacts. The positive sides are that the Games will enable communities to come together and unite them and also the regeneration of Stratford and the infrastructure in London are going to make life easier for UK citizens. The amount of new jobs that is going to be created by the Olympics is also a positive point, as it will reduce the level of unemployment in the UK. The negative impacts on the other hand is that nothing is guaranteed to be permanent, and tourism might decrease after the Olympics as well as the level of employment and that the risks of terrorism and riots is increased.

Overall, the Olympic Games are going to have a positive impact on London and the rest of Great Britain as it will have the opportunity to prove other countries that it can hold such a huge event that will bring people from all over the world.

REFERENCES

Tassiopoulos, D. (2005) Events Management: A Professional And Developmental Approach, Lansdowne: Juta Academic 2005, 2nd ed., 11

Malfas, M., Theodoraki E. and Houlihan B. (2004) Impacts of the Olympic Games as mega-events, Municipal Engineer 157, 209-220

Poynter, G., MacRuru, I., (2009) Olympic cities: 2012 and the remaking of London, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009, 23, 87-90

Davies, E. The Olympics' economic benefits. BBC News, 6 July 2005. Available online at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4657325.stm

Imperial College London, Political, ‘Social and Economic Aspect of the Olympic Games’ Last accessed 2 November 2011, Available online at http://olympics.pthimon.co.uk/politics.htm ,

Olympic delivery authority (2008). ‘Investigating in the future’. Last accessed on 3 November 2011. Available online at http://www.london2012.com,

Ruddick, G. (2011). “Predictions for 2012: economic impact of Olympics and Diamond Jubilee”, The Telegraph. Last accessed on the 10.01.12. Available online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/london-olympics-business/8969091/Predictions-for-2012-economic-impact-of-Olympics-and-Diamond-Jubilee.html

Jenkins, S. (2011). “Why the Jubilee will outshine the Olympics”, London Evening Standard. Last accessed on the 11.01.12. Available at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24026599-why-the-jubilee-will-outshine-the-olympics.do

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