Olympic accommodation should be set by 2008 

Officials confident there will be room for Whistler guests

By Clare Ogilvie

Olympic officials expect to have all accommodation numbers firmed up by mid-2008.

That will leave plenty of time for spectators to book rooms in both Vancouver and Whistler, said Nejat Sarp, vice president of accommodation and villages for the 2010 Vancouver Organizing Committee.

“What we are really looking for is that by the end of 2008 we would have gone through all of the allocations for all the groups,” he said.

“The reason why that works well is that we want to be able to give plenty of time for spectators to plan their trips and to be able to make their own bookings.

“That still gives them (over a year) before the Games.”

The latest figures show that VANOC needs 2,500 rooms in Whistler for the Winter Games, which run Feb. 12 to 28 in 2010. Those rooms, said Sarp, would house IOC officials, media and broadcast workers, sponsors at all levels and National Olympic Committee members.

How many of the rooms are needed exactly is unclear as some of the rooms will hold more than one person.

The IOC, which moves its entire Lausanne office operation to the host city for the Games, will be based in Vancouver. It’s likely it will need around 30 rooms per night in Whistler for the duration of the Games and for some days before and after the event.

VANOC, which is planning on hosting about 900 in the IOC family, will control all the accommodation for the 2010 Games. It hopes, said Sarp, that by doing this it will be a seamless experience for everyone from IOC officials to spectators.

At the 2006 Winter Games in Torino the organizing committee decided to outsource accommodation provision. There were several challenges with this approach, including a slow start to booking by spectators as it was unclear what if any accommodation would be available.

Sarp said 90 per cent of the rooms needed in Whistler have been secured.

There are still plans to pursue the idea of putting media and broadcasters on a luxury cruise ship in Squamish as well, he said.

Currently about 1,600 media and broadcasters are expected to be in Whistler on any given day, with a total allocation of about 3,000. There will be 6,000 members of the media in Vancouver, who will need about 14,000 rooms altogether for the event.

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