Olympics-Stay-at-home Brits defy Olympic exodus predictions
By Rhys Jones and Himanshu Ojha
LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) - Defying gloomy predictions that Londoners would leave in their droves to avoid the crowds and disruption that accompany the Games, passenger figures show that most people have opted to stay at home and enjoy the Olympic party.
Britain's two biggest airports said they had seen no significant increase in the number of passengers flying abroad while Eurotunnel said outward bound bookings on Channel Tunnel trains were slower than usual this week and next.
More than 10 million people braved torrential rain and then scorching summer temperatures to see the Olympic flame on its 8,000 mile (12,870 km) journey across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, according to Games organiser Locog.
Only one in 10 travellers is leaving London to avoid the Games, according to a survey by the Association of British Travel Agents. Seven out of 10 Londoners were even looking forward to the Games, the survey showed.
"Numbers taking holidays at this time are fairly consistent with past years," said ABTA spokeswoman Victoria Bacon.
"While some have chosen to forgo a summer holiday during the Games, these have been balanced by those wanting to get away," she said.
That statistical and anecdotal evidence contrasts with the doomsday predictions by some of the British media that Londoners would flock to foreign shores to avoid the security checks, crowds and chaos that the Olympics is likely to bring.
Jessica May, a 21-year old London-based student travelling to Spain from Gatwick, said: "I'm not going away specifically because of the Games though it is a happy coincidence because of transport issues and security threats." Continuación...