IOC reassured over rooms

Greece’s plans to house the thousands of officials from the Olympic organizing committee and sponsors in makeshift accommodation during the Olympic Games in 2004 appears to have partially allayed concerns previously felt by the International Olympic Committee on whether there would be sufficient accommodation for officials. Denis Oswald, chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the 2004 Games in Greece for a business conference, said yesterday that the government has assured him that it will find a solution to the estimated shortfall of 2,800 rooms. ‘Apparently there is a solution,» he said. Evangelos Venizelos, the minister responsible for the Olympics, told Oswald that 1,400 additional rooms would come from new hotels and others currently under renovation. Other hotels have in addition agreed to contract more of their capacity, up from 80 percent to 90 percent, to the Olympic family, which is estimated to require 23,000 rooms. Cruise ships have also been enlisted to help out. Hoteliers and the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee have sparred acrimoniously and at length over the issue of accommodation, with the former confirming last month that there would be sufficient room for all in 2004. They suggested more would be available if the committee would lower its standards and include category B and C hotels, which have an estimated 10,000 rooms on offer. The government has also indicated that it plans to farm out some visitors to makeshift lodgings, either private homes or public buildings to be temporarily converted into hotels. This idea, however, came under fire yesterday from the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA), which blamed the problem on the authorities’ inaction and inexperience. It also warned of the possibility that unauthorized real estate agents could usurp travel agencies in providing accommodation to the Olympic family. While the State appears to be working hard to provide accommodation to Olympic visitors, hardly anything has been done to ensure the same for spectators, HATTA pointed out. It said that available facilities are too far from the capital, with the majority of these lodgings in the lower categories and others totally unsuitable. The association suggested the setting up of a data bank which would record all available rooms certified by the Greek National Tourist Organization as appropriate for Olympic visitors.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.