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Sydney Hotels Deny Price Gouging

June 5, 1998

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Australia’s Hotels Association has denied international allegations of price gouging on room rates during the 2000 Olympics.

Delegates attending a meeting of the 198-member Association of National Olympics Committees (ACNO) in Seville, Spain, heard criticism of accommodation prices and the shortage of hotel rooms.

Hungarian Olympic official Tamas Ajan said he visited Sydney 10 days ago and was told by a senior hotel official that the cost for a room at a three-star hotel during the games would be $550 a night, plus $45 for breakfast and $75 for lunch and dinner.

``Just one week ago, I had a meeting with a board member of the New South Wales Hotel Association and he gave me information that during the Olympic Games the price for three star hotels will be about $550,″ Ajan said.

Australian Hotels Association (AHA) chief executive David Charles said Ajan was wrong.

``The chap has neither met nor spoken to anyone from the Australian Hotels Association, and there is no such thing as the New South Wales Hotels Association,″ Charles said.

In his address, Ajan said he was talking about hotels which had not signed agreements with the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games to provide set-price rooms to Olympic officials.

Charles said it was impossible to control every individual hotel operator.

``You can’t control absolutely everyone. If some maverick somewhere wants to charge whatever, I think he’s going to be in a lot of trouble,″ Charles said. ``I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on individuals to do the right thing.

``But if we’re looking at the major hotels in Sydney, about 100 percent of them have signed contracts with SOCOG.″

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