Monday May 21, 2012
OK, perhpas I am being a bit unfair and my judgement is coloured by not getting the tickets we wanted but seriously, I am starting to wonder where the fun and excitement is. The messages that I see most are about how much longer it is going to take to travel in London and how employers are encouraging staff to work from home or take leave during the period to ease travel congestion. Everyone I know is avoiding planning anything in London during this time and - if they are in a position to do so - are leaving town for the duration.
It wasnt helped by the underwhelming arrival of the Olympic flame on a grey and windy piece of military airfield in Cornwall carried by Princess Anne in some sort of tilley lamp. Now, she is a lovely hard working lady and of course we had David Beckham there too, but seriously, where was the fun, the excitement, the glamour? Lighting the big torch thing was all done there on the tarmac against the back drop of a vast, grey, empty sky. If there really were 'hundreds of people' there to see it arrive, why weren't they there in the background?
It reminds me of what happened when there was a total eclipse of the sun in Cornwall back in 1999 - there was so much negative messaging about how chaotic Cornwall was going to be that visitor numbers were well down on what had been expected. Again, the messaging put me off, I have family in Cornwall and would have loved to have gone but the thought of miles of traffic jams put me off and I didnt go. Turns out lots of other people didnt either!
Of course getting the message right is not easy, but I would contrast the official Olympic messaging with that of British Airways. The airline is saying 'We're ready'. That says to me that yes, they are going to be busy, but we're ready for it so come and fly with us. Its a positive, measured message.
There are a couple of months to go yet so maybe we should reserve judgement but I can't help thinking that somebody needs to do something exciting quick or the travel chaos will be caused by everyone heading out of London not in to it !