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Athens Hotels Strike Deal With Olympic Commitee

A partial deal between the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee and the capital’s hoteliers’ union on accommodation for Olympic Games’ visitors to Athens was reached last month with the assistance of Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.

During a meeting in mid-May, the committee and the Athens Hoteliers Union, under the auspices of the development ministry, discussed a range of significant issues concerning tourist accommodation for the duration of the Games.

Firstly, the agreement allows for the pre-booking of 80 percent of the city’s rooms specifically for Olympic visitors. Deposits will be required, namely $350 for deluxe hotels, $250 for five- star, $180 for four-star and $100 for three-star units. Ten percent of the room charge should be paid by January 15, 2002; 30% by January 15, 2003; 30% by January 15, 2004; and 15% by June 16, 2004. Cancellation fees have been set at 25% up until January 15, 2003; 45% till January 15, 2004; 85% till June 15, 2004 and 100% till June 15, 2004.

A matter that remains to be resolved, however, is the guarantee of deposit payments Mr. Christodoulakis, who will personally formulate a proposal on this issue, said that 85 to 90 percent of the deal had been sealed: “2004 offers a fantastic and historic opportunity for upgrading and strengthening of the tourism industry,” he said.

“We need to look at how we can utilize the Games as motivation to develop tourism for 2004 and beyond,” he said. “We should improve the image of Athens so it can receive the tourism it deserves.”

Athens must find a happy equilibrium between demand for and supply of suitable accommodation not only for visitors attending the 2004 Games but those who will come to the capital before and after the 15-day event, the development minister said.

He said that sufficient beds had been secured for the Olympic family and that the quality of the units was being checked as the availability of accommodation for all tourist budgets.

Mr.Christodoulakis indicated confidence that the Games would assist in enhancing Greece’s tourism offer and convince Olympic visitors to return to the country for a vacation.

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