JULY 7 - LONDON will benefit from hosting the 2012 Olympics, tourism agency VisitLondon insisted today.


Visit London Chief Executive James Bidwell said: “The forecast incremental tourism benefit of the Games is £2.2 billion for London and £2.9 billion for the UK.


"This is based on research undertaken by Oxford Economics last year and includes the impact of any displacement effect."


It follows a report published earlier today by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) that claimed hosting the Olympics typically stalls tourism growth. 


Bidwell said: “Our research also shows that increases in visits from our traditional markets such as the US and Europe due to the Games are likely to be outpaced by those from the rapidly emerging economies of the world – once again highlighting the growing importance of emerging markets and their significance in delivering the post-London 2012 legacy.


"Outbound travel from countries such as China, India and Russia will create a new world of global tourism in the years to come.


"China alone is estimated to have 100 million outbound tourists by 2020.


“London is the number one city destination in the world for international travel and the Games are a unique opportunity to make the British capital the number one destination of choice for visitors from emerging markets.


“The tourism benefits of the London 2012 Games do depend on having the right investment and strategies.


"With just four years to go it is critical that the Government ensures appropriate funding is in place to maximise the forecast tourism legacy across the UK.”