£100m rental boom as homeowners open up for tennis fans

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Thai Tho restaurant in Wimbledon Village has seen an uptick in business  (Jeremy Selwyn)
Thai Tho restaurant in Wimbledon Village has seen an uptick in business (Jeremy Selwyn)

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.”

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