The 2012 London Olympics will offer a series of challenges to anyone moving into or out of the city this summer. With more than 10,000 athletes from more than 200 nations competing, it’s expected that millions of visitors will descend on London between the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games (July 27-August 12) and Paralympic Games (August 29-September 9.)
To prepare for the impact of the Games, here are some things your relocating employees should consider:
Short-term and long-term lodging will be limited over the summer, so leases should be secured and hotels booked as soon as possible. Expect hotel rates to be at an all-time high and the choice of accommodation to be limited. Flexibility is the key to finding a place to stay during the Games. Be warned that a number of bogus temporary living Websites are actively attempting to capture credit card information, so contact Cartus for assistance.
The UK Border Agency is already busy processing the expected 660,000 visitor applications this year. If applying for a Tier 2 General visa, act immediately to avoid being rejected if quotas are oversubscribed. Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs) have more leeway than Tier 2 visa applicants, but you are still advised to act quickly to avoid delays.
Public Transportation and UK Airports
Expect an additional 800,000 people daily to use London public transportation during the Olympics. This puts added stress on the London Underground and the bus system, which will have its greatest impact at Kings Cross and key stations on the Jubilee Line. Add up to an hour to travel plans to compensate for the congestion. Luckily, the UK Border Agency is implementing a number of dedicated “Athlete Only” Olympic check-in lanes to handle some of the extra traffic at Heathrow, but expect increased prices and possible flight delays for all travel to or from London during the Olympics.
Travel on London’s Roads
The roads congested with extra traffic and special Olympic routes will make travel a challenge. Designated Olympic routes for athletes and officials will modify traffic signals and restrict road usage turning a commute from a 100-yard dash to the marathon. Plan for extra time and patience during the Games.
The Rest of the Five-Ring Circus
London will be a fantastic city to be in during the Olympic Games, but relocating employees will face a number of additional challenges this summer. Shipments and cargo flights could be delayed, home deliveries and pick-ups could be affected, and home finding and school search trips could be made more difficult with the increased travel times. Don’t hesitate to contact your Cartus consultant, who is more than happy to help your employees to navigate London during the Games. Please access our 2012 London Olympics site for additional information including the Employee Information Sheet.