by Lisa Grimaldi | June 01, 2004

Athens Olympic venue

Athens awaits:
The Olympic Games
take place Aug. 13-29.

The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, to be held this August in Athens, will differ from the 2000 Sydney games in two important respects: There will be more corporate guests   VIPs, top customers and incentive winners and security this time around promises to be much more extensive.
    Sead Dzdarezic, the president and owner of Far Hills, N.J.-based Jet Set Sports, the official U.S. agent for corporate tickets and packages, told M&C in late April that sales had already surpassed those of the 2000 Games. This, despite greater security concerns and higher costs due to the dollar’s slip against the euro.
    Counter to some media reports about a shortage of hotel rooms, Dzdarezic says there are more than enough four- and five-star rooms to house the 10,000 corporate participants who are expected to attend at least part of the 16-day event. Some will even stay at one of eight cruise ships scheduled to dock at the port of Piraeus.
    As the first Summer Games to be held after 9/11,  the 2004 Games also are going to run up a record tab for security: in excess of $700 million, according to Don Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Newport Beach, Calif.-based Cartan Travel, the official ticket vendor for leisure guests.
    Keeping the peace will be 40,000 Greek police officers and 15,000 Greek troops;  NATO troops will be on call for the duration of the event. Additionally, the security teams are meeting with suppliers to coordinate private security and operations, said Sean Mahoney, director of charter and incentive sales at Silversea Cruises; two ships in his fleet will host corporate groups during the Games.