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No Problem To Host Olympic Games Visitors

Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Greece’s development minister, says requirements of the Olympic Hospitality program will be met. “There is absolutely no concern about securing the beds required for the ‘philoxenia’ program, since, out of the 23,000 rooms needed, 20,000-21,000 have already been secured,” he says. “We expect that the remaining 2,500 will be secured through the timely completion of 48 applications for the construction of new hotels in the Athens region.”

He adds that a special one-stop shop for investors is in the process of completion and will soon be ready for use. For the accommodation of the thousands of tourists that will visit Athens during the Games, he says a committee of experts has already been set up and is expected to submit proposals this month concerning the accommodation of about 100,000 tourists who would require about 40,000-50,000 rooms.

Moreover, the International Olympic Committee has decided that they could be accommodated in hotels located within a 100-kilometer radius around the area where the Games will be staged.

In the meantime, General Secretary of Tourism Dimitris Georgarakis says a special committee comprising of general secretaries from pertinent ministries has already been set up, under his coordination, to monitor the course of investments.

“We are facing various problems in this particular area, the main one being land-planning, but we are trying to resolve all the difficulties that arise, especially in what concerns land use. In any event, the Greek government has no intention to change construction coefficients in (Athens suburb) Maroussi or elsewhere,” he says.

He also stresses that beds are sufficient to cover the needs of the Olympic family. Indeed, he says, this is the first time such an organization has met the needs of 80 percent of the required needs two and a half years before the staging of the Games.

He adds that a team of experts has been set up in order to examine the needs for the accommodation of visitors and spectators.

“As far as the developmental law is concerned,” says Mr. Georgarakis, “we have asked relevant authorities and organizations to submit their proposals. Our intention is to change incentives, explore new incentives and other forms of tourism, such as special tourism, to withdraw counterincentives and develop a mechanism in order to help businessmen. At any rate, the ministry of economy has been planning a change of incentives concerning taxation.”

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