Olympics: Ghost town London searches for missing tourists
LONDON (AFP) - With its half-empty restaurants and calm streets central London looks more like a ghost town than an Olympic city, and recession-hit traders are still waiting for the promised gold rush of tourists.
Sales are down across the normally crowded British capital after warnings of travel chaos and overpriced hotel rooms apparently scared off many visitors, while those who did come are staying around the Olympic Park in east London.
"Compared to last year people are just not coming," said Michelle Wade, who runs Maison Bertaux in the trendy Soho area, which claims to be London's oldest patisserie. "It's not just for this kind of business, it's the pubs, even my friend - he's a very well known hairdresser, but last Saturday he only had two clients. Normally it's about 24."
Halfway through the Games the mood is unusually calm in Soho, a usually busy area in the centre of the capital, several kilometres from Stratford, where the Olympic Park is located.