No Olympics boost for Merlin

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The owner of the Edinburgh Dungeons and the Sea Life Centres at Loch Lomond and Oban today warned that the Olympics Games was not expected to provide a boost to its attractions this year.

Merlin Entertainments, which also owns Alton Towers and Madame Tussauds, said the highly-anticipated event is unlikely to pull in more visitors as many tourists will only come for the games.

The firm said that some of its tours in London have already been cancelled to avoid the crowds.

The world’s second-biggest theme park operator has pinned its hopes on a new £15 million Swarm rollercoaster at Thorpe Park, a new underground ride at Alton Towers and a £20m Legoland hotel at Windsor, to attract customers.

Merlin – which also runs the London Dungeons, Chessington World of Adventures and the London Eye – said visitor numbers increased 13 per cent to 46.4 million in 2011, while operating profits were up 10 per cent at £217.4m.