With the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games just two weeks away research suggests that thousands of British expats are set to return en masse to the UK for the sporting event.
Some 275,000 expats have tickets for an event at the Games and are planning to make the trip back to the UK to enjoy the once in a lifetime event on ‘home’ soil.
A survey by expat bank Lloyds TSB International reveals that 7% are planning to come back to the UK during the Games. This amounts to 385,000 of an estimated 5.5 million British expats.
Most are coming from Spain. The survey found that one in five expats living in Spain, 21%, plan to make the trip. However, only 6% of those living in the USA and 3% from Canada plan to make the journey.
Many British expats also think that the Games will add to positive perceptions of the UK overseas. Around 66% of respondents believe that the Olympics will boost Britain’s profile in their country of residence, particularly those living in the US where 75% believe so.
Currently, almost half, 48%, of expats think that Britain enjoys a positive reputation in their country of residence, against only 20% who don’t. This is particularly true in North America and the United Arab Emirates, with 78% of US based expats, 65% of Canada based expats and 71% of UAE based expats saying that Britain is well-regarded where they live.
National identity is also important to expats, with over a third, 36%, saying they feel ‘more British’ and 38% saying they feel more patriotic towards the UK since moving abroad.
‘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,’ said Richard Musty, director of expatriate banking at Lloyds TSB International.
‘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,’ he added.