Heathrow prepares for busiest day

Heathrow Airport is set to see one of the busiest days in its history tomorrow as the Olympic parties leave the capital.

Numbers will be similar to those it witnessed when athletes came through the airport on 26 July. Around 8,000 athletes are expected to go through Heathrow’s games terminal across three days,using a special terminal and then the usual departure lounges to board flights. Athletes will be given a London-themed send-off, details of which are secret, and they will also be clapped into the terminal by a line of volunteers to wish them luck in future tournaments.

“Olympic departures present a fresh challenge with new facilities like the Games Terminal being used for the first time. We have been preparing for seven years to deliver a farewell of which the whole country can be proud,” said Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow’s owner BAA.

In addition to mark the handover of the games, KLM Air France is holding a farewell ceremony at Heathrow Airport tomorrow as part of its role as the carrier of the Olympic flag and Rio 2016 delegation.

As the next Olympic hosts, Rio de Janeiro and Brazil tourism authorities are set to ramp up activity after the city received the Olympic flame at last night’s closing ceremony. Following a successful London 2012, where hotels were thought to have 87% occupancy (more here), all eyes will turn to the South American country, which is also holding the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Brazil launched its marketing campaign two weeks ago in London for the sporting events, as well as tourism after the games in 2017. “We will have a unique opportunity which could produce real results to help us reach our target of doubling the number of foreign tourists and tripling foreign currency entering the country by 2017,” said Flavio Dino, president of Embratur. Rio Convention and Visitors Bureau has also embarked on its own campaign with restaurant chain Las Iguanas and its cheeky consumer give-away competition with TAM Airlines.

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