The dream of being an Olympic venue: is tourism the only legacy?


A week ago of your choice and Brisbane continues to celebrate that it will host the Olympic Games in 2032.

But, what has happened to the old venues of the Olympic Games? They also celebrated it in their day, and at the opening of the games they wore finery and colors, they marched, they were moved and they showed the world their most friendly, sumptuous, ingenious, rich, disciplined or tacky face, according to taste.

But what remains of the Olympic dream of Rio 2016, London 2012, Beijing 2008 or Athens 2004? Not much, and if we go back in time the fiasco is even greater.

“A complete success”

According to a report made in February lasillarota.comSix months after the Rio 2016 games, the newspaper O’Globo already denounced the complete abandonment of the facilities that had hosted the sports competitions and that had cost 4,200 million euros.

Even the mythical Maracana stadium, which became a symbol of the country, was left at the mercy of inclement weather and vandalism, without security or anyone to ensure its maintenance or sports use.

The Maracana stadium, in Brazil. Photo:

As always happens when the Olympics are over, the balance is “a complete success”. In Brazil, without going any further, the Ministry of Tourism assured that 88% of foreign tourists to the Olympic Games would like to return to Brazil, with very high evaluations from international tourists in all fields: 94.6% praised the airports; security 88.4%; and also public transport, with 86.5%.

87.1% of the international respondents rated the sports facilities where the competitions took place as good or very good. The Most critical ratings were for the prices of the tickets to the Olympic events, with 50.8% negative evaluations by Brazilians and 42.4% by international tourists.

The hotel plant in Rio grew by 9,500 rooms before the Olympics, spread over 38 new hotels.

Although not all Brazilians were clear about the great success.

“Olympics, what for?” And that who wrote the poster had not yet seen the photos of the sports facilities in Rio after the games.

And it is that in Brazil a great debate took place about the convenience or not of being an Olympic venue at a difficult time for the country and with a difficult political climate: The controversial Olympiad 2016, an opportunity for tourism? “The great legacy of the Olympic Games will be tourism”It was already saying then in the Government of Brazil.

And perhaps it was true, because Brazil surpassed its tourist record, with 6.6 million visitors in 2016, the year in which it hosted the Olympic Games, according to a statement from the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, representing an increase of 4.8 % over 2015. Although as not everything that glitters is gold, nor what appears in official statements, a group of about 30 Brazilian hotels denounced the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the non-payment of 4 million reais (1.25 million dollars, 1.13 million euros).

The reality is stubborn …

The Olympic swimming events were held here in Rio 2016. Photo

Beijing 2008

In Beijing 2008 things were no different. The sports facilities look the same as the Brazilian ones, 11 years after the games. As recalls, they cost 40,000 million dollars.

The funny thing is that the Chinese capital will once again host the Olympic games, in this case of winter, in 2022. Of course, the sports facilities built for the summer games will not work, so the boom town.

State of one of the sports facilities in Beijing 2008.

In Athens, in 2004, things have not gone any other way despite the fact that on that occasion the Olympics returned to their cradle for the second time in the modern era. The first time was in 1896.

Investments in the Greek capital to host the games ranged between 9,000 and 12,000 million dollars, depending on whether they are from official sources or not. On that occasion the Government decided not to have private sponsors so tAll that money came from the pocket of the Greeks. Debt, deficit and unemployment, as this report shows, were the inheritance of the colorful and ephemeral outbreak of the games.

Olympic facility in Athens 2004. Photo from

And London 2012?

Here the story is different, because the British capital did, after the games, that facilities built from scratch were recycled and used by athletes and citizensTo the point that if in 2012 44% of the British were not happy with being the Olympic venue and spending 11,000 million euros, a year later 75% recognized that the Olympics had been a success.

An example of what happened to all the Olympic facilities in London is the aquatic center, converted into a public swimming pool.

Photo Plataforma Arquitectura.

And what about tourism?

What will be the effects of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – held in 2021 due to the pandemic – in the future? Many experts have the worst omens, although from the data analytics company GlobalData they point to some positive effects, as we explained in Tokyo 2020: the positive effects on Japanese tourism will take time to arrive.

The Tokyo games are held without an audience and without an influx of international tourists to the city and the Olympic venues. How has recognized HOSTELTUR Ralph hollister, GlobalData Travel & Tourism analyst, “will not quickly cover the investment lost due to the absence of international visitors and the restrictions that will apply to nationals. But Japan will benefit in the long term thanks to the creation of a stronger and more varied tourism offer for the next few years ”.

Other improvements that will remain for the city are those made in transport connections, with a view to future business and leisure trips within the country

To this is added the Haneda Airport Terminal 2 expansion, carried out in part to increase its capacity with an eye on the growth of international tourism after the Olympics, since that terminal was previously only for domestic flights and now houses boarding gates for international operations.

GlobalData forecasts indicate that Prepaid levels of domestic visitors in Japan will rebound in 2022, with an expected increase of 6.3% in the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2021 and 2024, the year in which the recovery of international tourism will take place in the country.

And looking to the future, the challenge is what to do with the sports facilities, whether to look like Athens, Beijing and Rio or London.

“Japan now has a wide variety of modern sports facilities world class that can host future sporting events that could make up for the Olympics losses. These new infrastructures they will strengthen the country’s positioning in the presentation of its candidacy for future eventswhether they are high-profile multi-sport or single-sport, “Ralph Hollister Adventure.