Visitor (im)mobility, leisure consumption and mega-event impact: the territorialisation of Greenwich and small business exclusion at the London 2012 Olympics

Mike Duignan, Ilaria Pappalepore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Focusing on the London 2012 Olympics, we investigate the impact of mega-sport events’ spatial transformations on visitor mobility, local leisure consumption and resulting small business trade. Our case study draws on 43 in-depth interviews with local authorities, governmental and non-governmental project actors, and small-local leisure and visitor economy businesses (retail and hospitality) located at the heart of a ‘Host Event Zone’ in Greenwich, London. We supplement subjective accounts with a documentary analysis of policy reports, media, and archival material as the basis for our empirical analysis. Our findings reveal a major dichotomy between the ‘rhetoric’ of inclusion and local ‘realities’ of exclusion as security planning and spatial controls served to close off public spaces and local attractions: diverting visitor flows and leisure consumption towards official event sites, away from local businesses. We illustrate how such urban processes effectively render a vibrant business community invisible and visitors immobile to explore local community spaces during the live staging periods. We close with implications for event organisers, managers and policymakers focused on re-configuring the socio-spatial elements of Olympic organisation and re-direct and mobilise visitor economy flows towards more open civic and leisure spaces in the hope of better (re)distributing consumption into host communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-174
Number of pages15
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Leisure Studies on 31/01/2019, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • business leveraging
  • event impacts
  • host community
  • London 2012 Olympic Games
  • Tourist mobility
  • visitor economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Visitor (im)mobility, leisure consumption and mega-event impact: the territorialisation of Greenwich and small business exclusion at the London 2012 Olympics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this