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Rio mayor concerned about Olympic preparations

Posted on Feb 19, 06:40PM | IANS

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 19 : Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes said preparations for the 2016 Olympics are on track despite lingering concerns about lack of new hotels.

Speaking on the opening day of a four-day meeting between Brazilian officials and the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) 2016 coordination commission, Paes admitted Rio had not yet met its target of making available 27,800 hotel rooms by 2013, reports Xinhua.

Chief among concerns is the lack of new developments in the neighbourhood of Barra da Tijuca, which will host most of the Olympic and Paralympic events.

"As the Games get closer the deadlines become shorter. But I think that in these next three days we will show that preparations for the Games are going well. The concern is with certain places like Barra da Tijuca, where there is still a deficit of 700 hotel rooms. We already have 14,300 guaranteed but we are aware of the situation and working towards bridging the gap," Paes said.

According to Paes, Rio will boast 12,000 new hotel rooms by 2015, as outlined in the city's winning bid to host the Games in 2009. He added that 90 percent of Rio's Olympic budget had been finalised but declined to estimate the overall cost to Brazilian tax payers.

According to non-government consultancy Contas Abertas, the budget will rise to $20 billion, up from the original forecast of $15 billion.