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On Your Marks, Get Ready… Olympics – London 2012

Are You Ready?

This weekend will see the UK waving the Union Jack with pride as the country celebrates the Queens Diamond Jubilee, but no sooner will the bunting be folded away before it will be out again to welcome visitors from across the globe to the Olympics, followed by the Paralympics.

The history of the Olympic Games goes back to 776 BC where the games were held at ‘Olympia’ in Greece. Originally it was a religious event held in honour of Zeus, the father of the gods. They became, and still are, a huge celebration (no longer religious) held every four years, and attracting competitors from over 205 nations. The games are now held at different locations throughout the world, every four years and this year it is London’s turn.

The Olympic will be held from 27th July through to August 12th and include 26 sports, including new and cool sports like BMX, through to the equally exciting traditional track and field events. The fiercely fought competitions will be held in over 37 venues in the Olympic Park, across London and around the UK.

By now the athletes will be in their final stages of preparations – are you?

If you are coming to the UK to watch the Games, you may need to get a visa before you travel. To find out whether you need one, and how to apply, visit the British Embassy website. As you would expect, there will be many visa applications so don’t leave it too late. The UK Border Agency can delay the start of your visa for up to three months. This means the visa can be delayed till your travel date, to cover the duration of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tickets for both the Olympics and Paralympics are available for sale in the UAE through the UAE’s National Olympic Committee Authorized Ticket Reseller – MMI Travel. Ticket and package sales are on sale and are subject to availability. For more information please contact MMI Travel’s expert planners on +971 4404 5859 or email

London is busy no matter what time of year you visit, and the Olympic committee are strongly encouraging visitors to use public transport as there is no spectator parking at London 2012 venues, so it is advisable to go onto the official website and plan your journeys well in advance. Expat Echo Dubai would encourage you to buy an Oyster Card to use on the London Public Transport Network. This is a plastic smart card, pre-loaded with pay as you go credit, giving you unlimited access to the Tube, buses, trams, DLR and National Rail services within the London travel zones.  It is valid across all travel zones and automatically calculates the best value fare for all the journeys you make in a single day.

The UAE team will be competing in both the Olympics and the Paralympics, so make this an event to remember and visit London to support your own country and if you’re an expat in Dubai, why not pack a UAE flag in your bag and support your host country too!

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