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Volume 10 No. 25


A master plan that will be submitted by the Tokyo 2020 bid committee on Monday will transform the possibility of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to a "compact Games," according to the YOMIURI SHIMBUN. The proposal includes competition venues and 87,000 hotel rooms for visitors concentrated within a 10K radius "in a central location." The plan states that its "basic approach is to concentrate 85% of the competition venues within an eight kilometer radius from the Athletes' Village," which will be built in the Harumi waterfront district of Chuo Ward. The plan goes on to emphasize "Tokyo's state-of-the-art public transportation system," which can reportedly carry 25.7 million passengers a day. Furthermore, sections of the Metropolitan Expressway and other main roads totaling about 320km would be designated as "Olympic lanes" for exclusive use by athletes and Games officials (YOMIURI SHIMBUN, 12/31).

IOC President Jacques Rogge "is expected to visit" South Korea at the end of January to check up on preparations for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, "especially the troubled financial status of one of its main venues," according to Kang Seung-woo of the KOREA TIMES. Predictions are that the 2018 Games "could result in about 29T-60T won ($27.3B-$56.5B) in economic benefits for the country." But the "snowballing debt" of the Alpensia Resort -- which is the main venue and will host the ski jumping, biathlon, cross country skiing, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions -- "has become a thorn in the organizer's side." Last month Gangwon Development Corp., which owns and operates Alpensia, said that the resort has been losing about 60B won ($56M) annually over the past few years "because of costs including a substantial amount of monthly interest," while revenue remains at 50B won ($47M). The interest stems from a total of 1T won ($941M) in municipal bonds and bank loans raised since '04 "to finance the construction of the resort." The deadline for Alpensia to pay back its outstanding debt installments of 560B and 220B won ($527M and $207M) is '13 and '14 respectively. If it fails to make the repayments, "Alpensia may go belly up" (KOREA TIMES, 12/31).

The latest data show that, despite hopes the London Games "would showcase the country’s attractions to the world, the number of visitors has declined since the Games," according to Christopher Thompson of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The Office for National Statistics said that "after a 4% drop in overseas visits in the three months to Sept. 30 -- when the Olympic and Paralympic Games were held in London -- there was another 4% decline in October." As a result, the U.K.’s tourism deficit -- meaning more money was spent by Britons holidaying abroad than overseas tourists in Britain -- "widened to £5.7B ($9.26B) from July to September, up from £5.3B in the same period in '11." Meanwhile U.K.-bound tourists’ spending "declined by 11% year-on-year in October." British Hospitality Association CEO Ufi Ibrahim said, "From a tourism perspective there is a danger that we won’t really see a legacy at all from the Olympics." It "became clear over the summer that many overseas tourists had stayed away during the Games." The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, which includes tourist sites such as the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral, said that "visitor numbers were down more than 50% at many attractions." Hotel occupancy rates suggest that the Olympics "also failed to act as an advertisement for London as a tourist destination after the Games." Occupancy rates in September and November "have been flat year-on-year." Consulting firm PKF partner Robert Barnard said, "There hasn’t been much in the way of a blip or boon in the hotel business since the Olympics." Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainment, the theme park operator, blamed the Olympics for "a huge cannibalisation effect" on his business (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/1).

China's government is working toward a joint bid from Beijing and nearby cold-weather tourist destination Zhangjiakou to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Zhangjiakou Vice Mayor Zheng Lirong "confirmed the plans to try to host the quadrennial winter extravaganza" (INT'L BUSINESS TIMES, 12/26). ... CTS Eventim AG, operating in Russia under the brand of, has been appointed as the supplier of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee in the category of ticketing services. The German company will provide a safe online ticketing platform that will help the committee deliver a fair and transparent system for ticket distribution (Sochi 2014). ... Newly-hired Panama Olympic Committee (COP) President Camilo Amado announced a plan to reform the organization during his four-year term. Amado said he aimed "to completely reform the COP's statues, so it can be registered both in Panama and at the International Olympic Committee" (XINHUA, 12/31).