The Olympics have arrived! Well, some of the venues, at least
Sunday 23 May 2010
If you've travelled by train on the Waterloo to Weymouth line this month, you might have spotted the posters extolling the virtues of the Dorset seaside town of Weymouth and Portland as the year-round activity destination.
Highlighting leisure pursuits, such as kayaking, walking, windsurfing and cycling, the adverts are a departure from the area's traditional image.
The Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy – chosen by the organisers of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to host the sailing events – has been able to cash in early on its link with the prestigious sporting moment because it was not built specifically for the Games, it already existed.
New tourism businesses have also launched off the Olympic springboard, while others have been inspired to improve their offering.
To encourage walking, cycling and watersports enthusiasts, hotels are installing outside taps for cleaning equipment, drying spaces and storage areas.
The owners of one boutique hotel, The Chandlers (chandlershotel.com), have even commissioned a bespoke storage rack for walking boots, because nothing on the market was quite right. The recent launch of charter fleet business Weymouth Charters (weymouth-charters.co.uk) was also inspired by the Olympic link and offers a one-stop shop where visitors can access a diverse range of vessels.
But what will the Games bring to other areas of the country? In the Lee Valley Regional Park, the Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre is under construction and will open to the public next spring, when it will be the first of the new Olympic venues to be completed.
Meanwhile, negotiations with the Salvation Army are under way to decide what will be left for the public to use after the Olympic mountain bikers have left its land at Hadleigh Farm, Essex. The site will be home to a specially constructed course, where spectators can get up close to the action. Later, hopefully, they will be able to get on their bikes and try it for themselves.
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