Olympic fans boosting U.K. economy

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Visa, the only credit card accepted at Olympic venues and official shops, has reported that international visitors paid £445.3 million in England from July 23-29, in figures that were released to the media on Thursday.

That figure, representing prepaid cards, debit and credit cards, breaks down into 13.7 percent for entertainment, 19.2 percent for services and 27.5 percent for retail, according to a news release.

The United States led all nations in Visa spending in London during the opening week of the London Olympics, spending £54.6 million, or 12.3 percent of the £445.3 million. Japan was next at £32.5 million, 7.3 percent of Visa’s spending here, followed by France (£26.5 million), Italy (£25.2 million) and Australia (£22.6 million).

For the dates listed above, the average Visa transaction for one international visitor was 57.86 pouns.

Though China is 14th on the list, the nation had the top average transaction amount among all nations (£203.4).

“After seven years, the Games have finally started and the U.K. is celebrating with Olympic parties, as evidenced by the Visa spend data, which shows a 7.3 percent increase in sales of food and drink in the U.K. Our data also shows that sporting goods shops are showing an increase of 10.2 percent week on week, 6.2 percent on year, so the Games are also creating a sports appetite with U.K. consumers,” said Dr. Steve Perry, Visa Europe’s commercial director.

“Visitors here to enjoy (the Olympics) are also contributing significantly — with international spending in the retail sector increasing by 4.2 percent on the same week last year.”