This article, written by an economist in 2005, anticipated the sorry state of the Greek economy in 2011. I can’t help wondering what role the cost of hosting the 2004 Olympics played in their economic disaster. The full article is available by clicking the title below. ~LTG
When Athens won the right to host the 2004 Games in 1997, its budget was $1.6 billion. The final public cost is estimated to be around $9 billion — over five times the original budget. Meanwhile, most of Athens’ Olympics facilities today are reportedly underutilized.
The Games are touted to bring in tens of thousands of tourists, and, if things go according to the hype, to keep them coming into the indefinite future. Here, too, the evidence isn’t rosy.
Olympic participants and visitors often chase others away. In late 2004, Athens tourism officials were talking about a 10 percent drop in tourist visitors to Greece in 2004.
“It was a hugely wasted opportunity and one that sticks in the throat of many people. We are left with installations that are rotting away because we don’t even have the money to maintain them. A lot of entrepreneurs and property developers got rich very quickly,” said Ms Sakorafa.
Now an independent MP, the 54 year-old who once held the javelin world record is leading calls for a national debt audit. “How can we begin to think about measures to repay our debt when we don’t know where the overspend came from and who is accountable for it?” she asked.
Back in the Olympic Village residents are asking the same thing.
“Someone has to pay for the mistakes, but why should it be us?” Said Mrs Deligianni. “I thought we were buying into paradise but instead we are trapped in hell.