British Expats Flock Back to the U.K. for the 2012 Olympics

Thousands of British expatriates are set to temporarily leave foreign shores to return back to the United Kingdom for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will be held in London and surrounding areas.

According to a survey of 1,030 by Lloyds TSB International, 7% of British expatriates living abroad will be returning to the U.K. in order to enjoy the atmosphere of the London Olympics. If the remaining expatriates around the world follow suit, the U.K. can expect to see a total of 385,000 expatriates back on British soil over the summer.

The survey results revealed that the highest numbers of returning expatriates will come from Spain, where 21 percent of those surveyed revealed that they would be making the trip back home. This compares with 6 percent of British expatriates living in the USA and 3 percent in Canada. It is currently estimated that a total of 275,000 expatriates have purchased tickets for the event.

In addition to assessing expatriates’ plans to return home during the 2012 Olympics, the survey also questioned expats on their views of the Games. According to Lloyds TSB International, 66 percent of those surveyed believed that the games would improve foreign perception of the U.K and will boost Britain’s attractiveness as a potential expatriate destination. This was particularly true of the U.S. respondents, with 75% of those surveyed citing that they thought the games would add to positive perceptions of the U.K. overseas.

When questioned on their feelings of national identity, over a third of those questioned as part of the research revealed that they felt “more British” since moving overseas and 38 percent that they felt more patriotic since their relocation.

Discussing the survey and British expatriates’ opinions throughout the world, Richard Musty from the Expatriate Banking division of Lloyds TSB International, commented:
“2012 is a monumental year for the United Kingdom. With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and now the London Olympics, Britain is at the centre of the world stage.

“While there are many things that expats prefer about living overseas, many identify strongly with their home country, some more strongly than when they lived here. Seeing Britain on show throughout the world is a huge source of pride, and it speaks volumes that so many are coming back to see the Olympics.”

However, while some expatriates are indeed heading home to take in the atmosphere of the 2012 Olympics in London, others are purposely staying away. Talking to U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, one Dubai expatriate disclosed that he would be coinciding his trip to avoid the Olympics: “We are flying back to London for our holidays, then leaving three days before the opening ceremony to avoid the worst of the crowds. It’s our holiday away and I didn’t want to get caught up in endless queuing at the airport/visitor attractions/public transport – London is bad enough in a normal summer with all the tourists,” he said. “We will return to the UK a few days after the main Olympics is over for another few weeks.”