Norwich’s economy was given a £3.5m boost from the visit of the Olympic torch to the city in the same week as the Lord Mayor’s Celebrations, council leaders say.

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More than 100,000 people headed into Norwich between July 4 and 8 to watch the torch relay and enjoy the Lord Mayor’s Procession, council officers have estimated. And that provided a huge shot in the arm for the city’s pubs, restaurants and shops, according to the leader of Norwich City Council.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Labour-run City Hall, said: “We were very fortunate to attract the torch to Norwich. This was a whole city celebration and many organisations contributed to its success.

“In all around 106,000 people attended across the celebration, with 56,000 of those coming for the torch and 50,000 for the Lord Mayor’s celebration.

“You only had to be in the city during that splendid time to see how the restaurants and pubs were packed with customers.

“We estimate that over the five days, there was £3.5m of visitor spend in the city. That must have meant lots of trade in these difficult times.

“On top of that, many of our service providers will have increased business. It had a tremendous impact on people’s spirits and on the economy in general.”

Stefan Gurney, Norwich City Centre Partnership manager, said the two events had seen footfall rise significantly in the city, which would have led to a positive impact for businesses.

He added: “If people have not seen the city before, then by coming for the relay their knowledge of the city will have increased and hopefully it will encourage them to return.

“Norwich has such as diverse offering of retail, leisure and heritage that if people come and see it for the first time then they often want to come back again.”

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “The influx of people flooding into Norwich to watch the torch relay and the Lord Mayor’s procession, really boosted trade for retailers, pubs and restaurants.

“It brought people into the city who may not often visit, highlighting to them what is available and encouraging them to revisit. The visitor economy is an integral part of Norwich’s economy and day visitors help contribute toward Norfolk’s economic growth.”

Ms Arthur said the costs of staging the Olympic torch relay and the Lord Mayor’s celebrations were met from within the city council’s budgets.

The existing budget for the annual Lord Mayor’s Celebration weekend of events is around £150,000, but this year the council stretched that budget to include the Olympic Torch Relay too, and with the help of an additional £150,000 from partners.

Ms Arthur said: “Thanks must go to our funding partners, including our local charities, the Arts Council, the county council and LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) who between them contributed £150,000 to support the community projects around the torch and dressing our fine city. “Without their support we would not have been able to deliver such impressive celebrations, for which we have received nothing but praise.

“I believe it is really important that we can continue to provide events such as this for free, especially in these difficult times when people don’t have so much to spend.”

15 comments

  • Everyone I talked to was on their way out of Norwich, away from the razzmatazz of the corpolympics ( not a brand name). This figure is conjecture, maybe Brenda would like to tell us how much she spent on preparing and organising this event. How much have you spent Brenda?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • And how did you come to work that out then ?

    Report this comment

    Colby Army!

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

  • the whole games thing is an attempt to brainwash the mug public who pay for this.Or sacrifice money earmarked for REAL things.I won't watch it on tv.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • sarcasm-lowest form of wit. why would anyone watch this tripe?i don't believe its generated cash for Norfolk or even the U.K. more like cost us 5 billion quid in the worst recession ever.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

  • the whole games thing is an attempt to brainwash the mug public who pay for this.Or sacrifice money earmarked for REAL things.I won't watch it on tv.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • Cheapjack "security" arrangements juxtaposed with lush hospitality for the needy rich. That`s Sebcolimpix, Animal Farm style.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

  • Agree with all previous posters. Illusory economic benefit. A few traders cashing in, a few harrassed people coerced into spending money they`d rather not spend. I`ll be glad when these Sebcolimpix and Beckhamfests are a distant memory. Richard S has it; smoke, mirrors and spin.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • All estmates. Perhaps Brenda Arthur could furnish the facts and evidence instead of coming out with this drivel. PROVE IT ARTHUR.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • I'm so gutted bookworm wont be watching, thats ruined it for everyone

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • behave yourself--most people don't care about the games and won't watch it.you have been brainwashed.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

  • In what way can these events be for free? She says herself that £150,000 was spent from City Council budget - who provides that? The Tooth Fairy?

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • I am a big fan of the Olympics and will watch as much as I can. However I agree with others that any money spent would have been spent elsewhere anyway, so nothing extra generated. As for Brenda Arthur saying that we were fortunate to get the torch here, I think we would have been very unfortunate not to get it as the plan was for it to go pretty much everywhere.

    Report this comment

    Abraham

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • This is not £3.5 extra money. It is £3.5m that was not spent elsewhere on something else. These things don't generate new money - they just move it around. It's all smoke and mirrors- and spin.

    Report this comment

    RichardS

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • Games? Who (Apart from Seb Coe) really is bothered, there are unsold tickets, chaos on the streets of London etc etc...... For me thought, the highlight of the games always has been and always will be the logo in which Lisa Simpson appears to be performing a lewd act!

    Report this comment

    IT Man

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

  • Yes, given that the whole point of the Relay was to ensure it ent as close as possible to as many people as possible, there would have been no reason for anyone to travel anywhere else to go and view it. So I am inclined to agree that this is not additional. Unlike, say, the Tour of Britain where even if 10% of the viewing public come specially to see the event, they will generate quite a lot of additional income for the area.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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