London Games can expect 1 million visitors

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By Karolos Grohmann

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The London 2012 Summer Olympics will see an influx of one million people visit the capital for the 16-day sporting extravaganza, Games chief Sebastian Coe said on Saturday.

Past summer Olympics have never attracted a similar number, but London is a five-hour flight from several hundred million people spread over three continents and has long been a top European tourism destination. When asked how many out-of-town visitors organizers expect to visit London for the Games in August 2012, he said: "At least a million extra people."

Speaking a day before the end of the Vancouver Winter Games, Coe also said a mix of about 250,000 locals and foreigners would show up at the Olympic park in East London daily.

Vancouver tourism officials have estimated that some 250,000 visitors will have traveled to the western Canadian city by the end of the Olympics, 75 percent of whom are Canadians.

While Vancouver is bursting at the seams, its geographical location -- some five hours by flight from the country's other major cities of Montreal and Toronto -- meant it could only attract from a relatively small pool of people in the United States and Canada.

Also, Winter Olympics are much smaller than Summer Games, which regularly attract several hundreds of thousands of people.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)