Rio Plagued by Unfinished Hotels and Incomplete Infrastructure | Sports Destination Management

Rio Plagued by Unfinished Hotels and Incomplete Infrastructure

May 27, 2016 | By: Tracey Schelmetic

During the Winter Olympic Games of 2014 in Sochi, Russia, sports enthusiasts were entertained not only by the games themselves, but of hilarious live social media shares of comically poor rushed construction of hotel rooms.

Many described appalling conditions – complete with photos of missing walls and toilets -- in the housing in Sochi, where only six of nine media hotels were ready for guests. One German photographer told the Associated Press that his hotel still had stray dogs and construction workers wandering in and out of rooms. It was like nothing the world had ever seen before.

Unfortunately, the pattern appears to be repeating in Rio. The Trump Hotel, which is still under construction, is due to house seven International Federations in Rio de Janeiro during this year's Summer Olympic Games. The hotel, which is located in the main Olympic Park and is meant to serve as the accommodation for most officials, was due to be finished before delegates begin to arrive ahead of the Games, which begin on August 5th. According to Inside the Games’ Nick Butler, this may not be the case.

“Concerns are rising that the luxury hotel, set to feature an infinity pool made of glass suspended above a nightclub with capacity for 600 people, will not now be ready in time,” he wrote. “Fears were raised during last week's Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) General Assembly in Lausanne.

“That is the one we fear,” admitted Rio 2016 executive director of sport and Paralympic integration Agberto Guimarães.

It’s one thing to stiff members of the media on accommodations, and a whole other issue to inconvenience international Olympic federations. Officials are already seeking precautionary back-up lodging options for the officials, coaches and trainers who were scheduled to stay at the hotel.

The Trump Hotel is not the only hotel property to experience delays. Business Insider has reported that the opening of two Holiday Inn properties, also in Barra de Tijuca, has been postponed until 2017, well after the Games conclude. Hotels aren’t the only problems plaguing the coming Summer Olympic Games.

“Most worryingly, construction of the indoor cycling track has missed several deadlines, causing a test event for cyclists to be pushed back until late June,” wrote Business Insider’s Emmett Knowlton. “Similarly, a crucial subway extension that will deliver fans from downtown Rio to various Olympic venues is still under construction, and there is still no clear timetable for its completion. Last week, a stretch of the city's new bike path — which was opened in January and touted as a legacy of the Olympics — collapsed, killing at least two people.”

Bloomberg has reported that a recent IOC inspection delegation concluded that "thousands and thousands of little things" are left to complete. Organizers believe they can still iron out the problems.

“Whilst substantial progress has been made in venue construction during the last months, lots of details ensuring operational readiness will still need to be addressed during the remaining months,” the group representing the summer federations said in a statement. “We feel this is solvable, but will require swift decisions and action.”

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