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Russian Olympic Tourists Not Winning Medals

Visa, a worldwide sponsor of the Olympics, calculated that Russians spent most of their money on entertainment and shopping. Maxim Stulov

Russian tourists using Visa cards spent more than $17 million in Britain between July 23 and 29, significantly less than other Olympic tourists, experts from the credit card firm said.

Despite spending 30 percent more versus the same period last year, Russians in Britain ranked 12th by amount spent according to Visa, far behind the United States, whose citizens spent roughly $85 million, according to business daily Vedomosti.

Alexei Popov, general director of BSI Group, an international business services provider, explained Russia's low placing by the reduced number of Russian tourists visiting London during the Olympics, which started July 27 and ends Aug. 12.

Popov said a maximum of 15,000 Russians would visit the British capital during the games, since hotel prices are two to three times what they usually are, Vedomosti reported.

Visa experts calculated that Russians spent most of their money on entertainment ($6.2 million) and shopping ($4 million). In particular, spending on sports clothing, including Olympic-branded goods, rose more than 300 percent over the 2011 figure.

Tourist outlays in London have reached about $700 million since the buildup to the Olympics began, Visa said. The biggest spenders so far are U.S. visitors, followed by those from Japan, France and Italy.

Visa estimates that a third of all spending in Britain is done using credit cards.

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