‘Realistic’ interest in 2004

Two years ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics, a nationwide poll has found increasing interest in the Games as well as a more realistic attitude toward them. The Olympic Barometer poll released by the Games organizers yesterday, the eve of a visit by the IOC Coordination Commission overseeing preparations, showed that 67.6 percent of Athenians plan to stay in the city during the Games in August 2004 and that 52.5 percent of Greeks want to attend an athletic event or ceremony. «Not only should we not expect a reduction of the Athenian population during that time, but on the contrary, if one calculates the influx of people from the provinces and the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors, then one concludes that Athens in August 2004 will present its regular image,» the pollsters commented. This means that organizers will have to reconsider the impact on issues such as tickets and transportation, they said. The annual poll was conducted by V-PRC between May 16 and June 2, and canvassed 1,162 people. Organizers were encouraged that 21 percent of those polled say that they will definitely or probably offer their home for rent during the Games. «This percentage is especially encouraging, because if it is translated into real numbers, it means that hundreds of thousands of homes in the broader region of Attica and other Olympic cities can be offered for rent,» they commented. The number of those prepared to volunteer their services has jumped from 35.4 percent a year ago to 46.6 percent. Those expecting more job opportunities has dropped from 28.5 percent to 24.1 percent and those expecting Greece’s international image to improve dropped from 21.4 percent to 17.2 percent. «This means that the public is slowly rejecting the ‘visionary’ element for ‘more realistic’ ones,» the survey said.