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|Tent City and New Rating Scheme for Olympics|
- Parks to house thousands, hotels to upgrade, says Tourism Minister
TENT cities could become the norm in Londonís parks during the 2012 Olympics if Tourism Minister Shaun Woodward gets his way.
Woodward envisages catering for the gamesí less moneyed visitors by setting up thousands of tents and caravans, as has happened in previous Olympics, most notably Sydney.
"The Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 provide the biggest opportunity for British tourism in a generation," said Woodward.
The idea is not to miss that opportunity by having too few places for people to stay and there already fears that hotels will have the No Vacancy signs up well before the flame is lit in the summer of 2012.
The state of hotels themselves are also being scrutinised in readiness for the games. This week a new rating scheme was unveiled, with strict benchmarks for gaining stars. For instance, to win one-star, establishments have to provide en-suite facilities and change bed-sheets once a week. Five-star hotels have to change sheets every other day.
The Olympics, said Woodward, will be "a real catalyst for change; it will draw standards up and get our hotels up to the mark."
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