Olympic Games credit card boost

The so-called ‘Olympics effect’ has inspired international visitors to the UK to spend a staggering £450 million on their Visa cards during the first week of the 2012 Games.

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Spending on Visa cards, up by 8% in a year-on-year comparison, included payments in theatres, restaurants and nightclubs, as well as a host of tourist attractions.

This goes some way to realising the government’s predictions that Britain’s economy will receive a £2 billion boost from the extra tourism this summer.

Last week, around £12.7 million was spent on Visa cards in restaurants, a figure that is up by 20% compared to the previous year.

The £2.1 million spent in nightclubs was also a 24% increase on last year’s figures, while the £5.3 million spent on theatres and other ticket sales has more than doubled since last year.

A major sponsor of the Olympic Games, Visa is the only credit or debit card accepted at any London 2012 venues.

Visa Europe commercial director Steve Perry said: “There was plenty to cheer about in the first full week of the Games. It would appear that visitors are out celebrating the success of their athletes in some style, with restaurant spending up by almost a fifth.”

Visitors from the United States topped the ranking in terms of the biggest international spending, charging their cards to the tune of £58 million. This made up 12.7% of total spending by visitors to the UK.

This was closely followed by visitors from Japan with £30 million of spending. Japan managed to claw back the spending lead with the largest average Visa transaction of £81.67, compared to the overseas visitor average of £58.15.

Spending at the 2012 Games is expected to surpass records set the previous three Olympics in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.

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