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Mayor apologises to hoteliers for 'profiteering' slur

04/05/2011


London Mayor Boris Johnson has apologised to hoteliers for suggesting they were 'profiteering' by inflating room prices for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Johnson made a statement urging hoteliers to distance themselves from ‘sharks’ and sign up to Visit Britain's fair price charter following reports in the national press of hotels charging up to 10 times their normal tariff.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) hit back, attacking LOCOG for allowing third party retailers like Thomas Cook to hike up package prices when rooms had been provided by hoteliers at competitive prices. The BHA has since been working with affected members and has held several meetings on the issue with LOCOG.

Neale Coleman, the Mayor's advisor on the Olympic and Paralympic Games, admitted Johnson had "not been fully briefed" on the subject. He said in a letter to the BHA: “At the time unfortunately neither the mayor nor I were fully briefed on the situation involving LOCOG, Thomas Cook and the hotel industry.

"I am very sorry if this has led to your members understandably feeling they were being subject to unwarranted criticism for something for which they were not responsible. As agreed we have taken steps to ensure that the Mayor is now fully up to speed on the issues."

Johnson pledged “not to encourage any discussion about hotel pricing” in media interviews. If asked, he said he would refer journalists to Thomas Cook - the party responsible for Games Break package pricing.

A spokesman for the BHA said: “The mayor has agreed to stand by the hotels and the significant levels of support we have given to the Olympics and to the economy. It was agreed that, once the issue is resolved, we will re-engage with the mayor and other high-profile individuals to celebrate hospitality and our role in creating jobs and wealth through major events and other areas of economic activity.”

Pictured: Boris Johnson


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