Special Olympics to provide needed boost

The upcoming Special Olympics to be held in Athens this summer will provide the country?s shrinking economy with a much needed boost, drawing more than 40,000 visitors to Greece for the eight-day event.

Scheduled to run from June 25 to July 4, the organizing commitee said on Wednesday the event will provide a boost to hotels in Athens, as well as other cities, along with the retail sector and restaurants at a usually quieter time of year for the tourism sector.

?The successful organization of the games will confirm that Greece, despite its economic problems, is a modern country that respects people and is forward-looking,? organizers said in a statement.

The committee said its 75-million-euro budget had been cut prior to the start of the Greek debt crisis, but did not provide further details.

It is the first time a sporting or cultural event with a balanced budget is being held in the country, it added. The event will draw 7,500 athletes and 2,500 coaches from 185 nations that will participate in 22 Olympic events.