When it comes to America, the British can't seem to get enough of The Tampa Bay area.
"We get about 25 percent of our total visitation from international visitors, and our number one international market is the UK," said David Downing of Visit St. Pete Clearwater.
So when several hundred American athletes, including many from the Sunshine State, took their talents over the pond to compete in the Olympic games, many Brits decided it was time to get out of dodge.
"We've heard some reports that up to 9 million Brits left Great Britain because of the Olympic1s, or it just so happened that during that time they were leaving," said Downing. "We have to think that this being such a popular destination for British visitors that they are here as well."
Local businesses say there has been a bit of a "British Invasion" this week.
"This is the first week I've seen any British customers and we've seen quite a few," said Desiree Noisette.
Noisette owns Cerulean Blu Swim and Resort Wear in downtown St. Pete.
She's says the uptick in British business in her store is a direct result of the Olympic Games.
"They're telling me that England is quite crazy right now and that they wanted to come to America to escape the Mayhem of the Olympics," Noisette said.
Eddie and his family know the feeling. They live North of London in Leeds, but Eddie works as a truck driver in London.
He says getting away this week was a no brainier. Local businesses say they certainly appreciate the majesty of the Olympics and the indirect economic boon.
"They have many places in America that they could choose to go, but they chose to come to Tampa Bay so I think that speaks volumes about our culture here, and our tourism," Noisette said.
It's no mistake that the British find their way to the Bay Area for vacation. Visit St. Pete Clearwater say they have an office in Great Britain. They sell the area every chance they get, and it appears to be working.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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