If you're planning to make the trip to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, be prepared to shell out a lot of dough to do it. Not only are tickets to the actual events ridiculously expensive, but hotels all over merry olde England are planning on jacking up rates as well.
Anyone visiting London next summer should expect to pay up to 10 times the usual rate for a hotel room. Less than a year away from the opening ceremonies hotel owners have already started preparing for the impending surge of guests from abroad.
The Economic Times claims that a night at London's Sheraton Park Tower would cost 209 pounds, or $338.79 right now. The price quoted for a stay next summer is 605 pounds ($980.70). A night at the W London would go for 290 pounds ($470.09) right now, but will cost 540 pounds ($875.34) next August. In an even more shocking example of price gouging, a night at the Berjaya Hotel (which normally goes for 89 to 199 pounds) will cost 999 pounds ($1,619.38) for every night of the Olympics.
Even youth hostels are are getting into the act as the Youth Hostel Association's Earl's Court property will nearly double its rates from 15.65 pounds to 30.65 per night. Anyone else get the feeling those youth hostels are going to be hilariously overcrowded?
This isn't something new. During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, hotel rooms were also 10 times more expensive than usual. Many believe that helped contribute to a 30 percent decline in visitors to the city that year.
Other towns in southern England have seized the opportunity provided by London's hotel prices. The county of Suffolk (70 miles from central London) has started a campaign to target Olympic tourists who can't afford the prices in the big city.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is urging local hoteliers and business owners to refrain from gouging tourists and focus on providing "reasonable and fair trading terms" during the Games.
At this point it doesn't seem like the big hotel chains are listening to the mayor. Hopefully something changes over the next year and London can truly provide an affordable experience for fans traveling to the Games.
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