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The Olympics is creating a “ghost town” effect in central London as visitors who would normally flock to the capital’s shops, hotels and theatres stay away, casting doubt on expectations of a short-term economic boost from the games.

The games have attracted as many as 100,000 foreign visitors to London – more than in previous Olympics. But, on its own, that number significantly lags behind the estimated 300,000 foreign tourists who could be expected in a typical year.