WC organisers act on spiralling hotel prices

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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St John's:Hotels who have tripled their prices to take advantage of next year's World Cup face a top level government probe, it was revealed here.

Organisers of the March 13-April 27 tournament are so concerned about the spiralling accommodation costs which face the thousands of fans expected to visit the Caribbean, that even the region's prime ministers have been dragged into the row.

Tournament's chief executive Chris Dehring has appealed to CARICOM government leaders for their help and he has written to chairman of the group's sub-committee on cricket, Grenada prime minister Keith Mitchell.

Dehring said that the tournament task force on accommodation has made only marginal progress on the matter of room rates.

"The task force received support from the Caribbean Hotel Association which wrote to its members with a recommended price guideline of 15 per cent over the prices charged for March 2005, net of commission," added Dehring.

"However, this has gone unheeded by most of their membership. There are some hoteliers who are charging fair and competitive rates.

"There are other hotels charging us over 300 per cent above the rack rate quoted for these same rooms on the internet today."

He said he is worried that the exorbitant rates could have a significant negative impact on the tourism industry in the region.

"There is no doubt that visitor arrivals could be dampened because of the rates being quoted," said Dehring.

"Broadcasters, sponsors and media are also expressing serious concern and are considering modifications to their attendance, production and coverage which would also reduce the economic impact of hosting this Event.

"The negative international press, due to any perception of price gouging by the region, could hurt our regional tourism product for many years after.

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