No shortage, hoteliers claim

Athens hoteliers denied a claim by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that there was not sufficient accommodation for the Athens 2004 Summer Games. IOC officials who reviewed Athens’s preparations earlier this week said there was a lack of hotel rooms for officials and sponsors. Athens 2004 organizers have so far booked 13,000 hotel rooms and 3,000 rooms on cruise ships to be docked in nearby Piraeus. An additional 2,831 rooms are needed. The 19,000 rooms represent about 90 percent of Athens’s hotel space, leaving few rooms for spectators. According to the president of the Athens Hoteliers Association, Aristotelis Divanis, construction of new hotels will provide an additional 4,000 beds. «We are being unfairly attacked by the organizing committee, which is attempting with this tactic to cover their own weaknesses,» the association said. The Athens 2004 Games organizing committee countered that the hoteliers had not yet signed an agreement to provide the additional rooms. Denis Oswald, the IOC official monitoring Athens’s preparations, said construction of any new hotels in Athens must begin by May for the IOC to be assured they will be completed by August 2004. Athens 2004 organizing head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki has said alternative solutions include accommodating spectators in private homes and apartments, or at resorts outside Athens. (AP)

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