Will Olympics benefit us?
STUDIES have shown that an estimated 294,000 tourists are likely to flood London from overseas during the Olympics Games, with a further 587,000 overnight visitors from the rest of the UK.
But it seems the rush has not extended as far as Sevenoaks, where B&B owners have been left without bookings during the Games period.
Alan Burner runs a B&B in Hillside Road, Sevenoaks.
He said: "I assume there is enough accommodation in London and that is why we haven't had as many bookings as expected.
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"We have had one booking for the Olympics – and that was from a friend of our daughter. Otherwise, we had an enquiry asking whether we were putting up our charges for the Olympic period, which we are definitely not.
"It has surprised us a little bit that there have not been more Olympic-related bookings, but we do not mind.
"Because Sevenoaks is quite close to London, just half an hour away, I'm not sure why people aren't staying in Sevenoaks.
"I doubt people will come last minute but you never know."
The problem has also extended to Sundridge, where Fiona Gooda runs Shaw Lodge B&B.
She said: "People are not booking specifically for the Olympics and I stuck my prices up as advised. It really has surprised me that we are just 35 minutes from London and there hasn't been more interest. I'm a bit sad about it. I think the Olympics could end up being a non-event.
"Maybe people that want to stay close to the Games will think about it last minute."
The Old Manor House in Brasted is run by Kerstin Olfzowska, who has only had a few bookings but believes the Olympics will positively impact on the area.
She said " I've had a few bookings.
"I have a booking for some Germans to stay specifically because they have tickets for the Olympics, and another booking but that is not Games-related.
"It is extraordinary that more people are not booking to stay here for the Olympics, I don't know where they are going. We are just 30 minutes from London, so in a prime location. I remain optimistic that more people will book though."
Bob Carpenter, of the Sevenoaks Tourist Information Centre, confirmed the Games seemed to have had minimal impact on the area's tourist trade
He said: "Our perception is that any knock-on effect is marginal.
"We are getting more enquiries from people wanting to rent out their homes than we are from people wanting to rent them.
"But of course this may change as it is still several weeks away and it may be patchy, e.g. business may be better near Brands Hatch which is one of the Paralympic venues."
But while some B&B have been left with rooms to fill, John Ingram, who runs Sevenoaks B&B in Robyns Way, is fully booked.
He said: "It's always pretty full this time of year.
"I suppose one can say the bookings came in earlier this year because of the Olympics and we have people booked in who are going to the Olympics, so it has had a positive impact."
"We do not have as many booking for the Paralympics though."
Roger Wise, from The Old Farmhouse in Westerham, is also benefiting.
He was overjoyed to be fully booked for the entire Olympic period.
He said: "We are fully booked up for seven weeks of the Olympics, a local aviation company from Biggin Hill did a block booking 18 months ago, and it is Olympics-related. We have certainly done well to get that.
"Over the past year we have gained many reservations from people involved in the planning of the Games, which has made us realise how many companies have gained business.
"I think the Olympics has brought business to the area, it has had a positive impact."
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