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Wimbledon homeowners are mitigating the cost-of-living crisis by creating their own estimated £100 million economic boom.
Spare rooms — and even drives — have been rented out weeks in advance to global tennis fans.
Adrian Mills, chairman of the local business association, told the Standard: “Wembley hosted the World Cup in 1966 but Wimbledon has the world cup of tennis every year.
“It’s a golden period for businesses. There was a figure put on it of £100 million to the local economy but that’s speculative.”
Mr Mills, who has run the Thai Tho restaurant in Wimbledon Village with wife Nicky for 27 years, said: “For the last two years because of Covid, it’s been like tumbleweed blowing down the high street.
“Now a friend phoned me to say, ‘I can see Novak Djokovic standing in a delicatessen across the road’.
“What she didn’t realise was Rafael Nadal was right behind him with a shopping basket.”
Another restaurant was packed with 120 customers at 9.30am. Joao Feio, 28, assistant general manager of Megan’s, said: “This is busier than several Christmases ago and it will last for two weeks.” He has had to draft in extra staff.
Airbnb say bookings for short-term lets have gone through the roof, with guests arriving in droves from across Britain, America, Australia, Germany and Canada.
A typical host can earn over £2,600 during the two weeks as they open their homes. For a five-bedroom house with a garden, it could be as high as £16,000.
Homeowners in boroughs surrounding Wimbledon made almost £2 million in 2019, the company said.
Amanda Cupples, of Airbnb, said: “Travel is back and as everyone looks forward to a bumper British summer, hosting offers everyday families the chance to boost their income and help manage the rising cost-of-living.”