Aug. 13 - The Olympics has been hailed a major success in the UK and abroad but will a boosted Brand Britain make any difference to the country's economic prospects and were the Games worth their $14 billion price tag? Joanna Partridge reports.
The sun shone and the world came to visit. After basking in the global spotlight of the Olympics, the competitors and spectators are going home and London's clearing up. On and off the track, the Games were seen as a great success. They raised Britain's morale at a time when the nation is struggling economically and suffering from government spending cuts. PTC Over the past two and half weeks, London showcased its history, culture and creativity. Now the question is how the city and the country can capitalise on the Games' success to boost the economy? It's hoped the Games will attract more tourists and businesses to the UK. The opening and closing ceremonies were also widely admired around the world, and Graham Hales, CEO of brand consultancy Interbrand, says that may help Britain's creative industries. SOUNDBITE: Graham Hales, CEO of Interbrand, saying (English): "It's forced a reappraisal of the UK if you like, and started to accentuate some of our better attributes into export markets. That's all slightly sort of soft and fuzzy stuff, if we look at the hard-nosed economy, but at least we've got a direction of travel as a result of the Games." Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world's largest advertising agency WPP, says London 2012 has increased foreign direct investment, but there is more work to be done. SOUNDBITE: Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO, saying (English): "Our biggest trade partner is the euro zone still. We still don't - I think it's, what percentage of our exports go to China, I think it's 3 percent - I don't think I misheard that. We still, the pattern of our exports are very much geared to the old world rather than the new world. So there were two fundamental objectives: one is to encourage FDI and I think the government was right about that and the second one was to alter high value added manufacturing just like the Germans did, you know focus on the BRICs and the next 11, because that's where the growth is going to be, whether we like it or not." The Games haven't improved the economic outlook. Britain may yet fall into a triple dip recession and many retailers says the Olympics kept people away from the shops. But many hope the event will boost Britain's international reputation. It's always offered tradition and culture now it can boast modernity and hospitality as well. Joanna Partridge, Reuters