SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Sydney residents are planning a mass exodus of Australia's biggest city during the Olympics, a survey conducted by games sponsor Ansett Airlines revealed Tuesday.
The survey found that more than a half-million people, or 14 percent of Sydney's four million residents, planned to escape the host city, with 55 percent of those surveyed indicating they planned to travel overseas.
Ansett interviewed 500 people earlier this month and released the results 52 days before the opening ceremony. At the same time, accommodation providers were advertising unexpected vacancies during the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 games.
Of the 86 percent of Sydneysiders who will stay, about one quarter said they were likely to host family or friends from interstate or overseas during the Olympics.
The Ansett survey showed that 60 percent of Australians had a positive attitude toward the Olympics. The states which have already hosted the Olympic torch relay have the highest approval ratings, with 74 percent of Queensland residents and 73 percent of South Australians showing a positive attitude toward the games.
The Australian Tourism Commission said the Olympics had been a boom for the nation's biggest industry, with inbound tourism experiencing unprecedented increases in visitors in 2000.