OLYMPIC TOURISM AND RECEPTION CAPACITY IN ROME

In carrying out the task of receiving visitors, the Italian Provincial Tourist
Board (Ente Provinciale per il Turismo) faced the problem of accomomdation
bearing the two following principles in mind:—
(a) to find the number of beds in Hotels and Pensions necessary to satisfy
the requirements of sports personalities and authorities, leaving the rest
for the use of the normal tourist traffic;
(b) to check up on all complementary accommodation to be used by tourists
in accordance with their requirements and means.
In May 1958 the Italian Provincial Tourist Board set up the Olympic
Housing Office (Ufficio Alloggi Olimpiadi) which included 32 employees during
its peak period. This Office made contact with the International Organizations
directly interested in the Games and undertook to inform officially accredited
Agencies of the criteria for the selling of tickets for the Games and for
priority on the reservation of hotels, as and when these Agencies were designated
by the Organizing Committee.
In May 1959 the first hotel allotment was made to the officially accredited
Agencies on the basis of tickets allotted by the Organizing Committee of
the Games to the individual countries.
Allotments of complementary accommodation were made to all Agencies,
officially accredited or otherwise, as well as to associations and private indivviduals
without any limitation as to either the number or type of lodging available.
Following agreements drawn up between the Italian Provincial Tourist
Board, the Organizing Committee of the Games and the Rome Provincial Association
of Hotelkeepers, it was decided to work out some sort of compromise
by which 75 % of the hotel accommodation was to be left at the disposal
of the normal tourist traffic and hotel clientele, while the remaining 25 % was
to be reserved by the Rome hotels for the Italian Provincial Tourist Board to
be used to meet the requirements of personalities and various authorities of
those countries taking part in the Games.

The appeal by the Mayor

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Accommodation under the control of the Provincial Tourist Board was
divided into various sections, these being camping sites and sites provided
with tents; houses and various institutes; rooms in private houses.
An appeal by the Mayor of Rome who invited the Romans to live up to
their reputation of hospitality, launched on 18th July 1959, fully served its
purpose, resulting in thousands of offers of lodging being made to the Olympic
Housing Office.
In a decree of 18th February 1959 the Prefect of Rome laid down the
tariffs valid from 1st August to 30th September 1960 for the renting in Rome
and in the nearby Communes of furnished rooms in private houses without official
renting licences and of beds in various institutions.
On the basis of the Prefect's decree, No. 16452 of 12th September 1959,
private persons were authorized to let rooms and furnished flats during the
limited period of 1st August-16th September 1960 without having to obtain
the permission of the Security Police, as is the normal procedure. The Italian
Provincial Tourist Board then had to ensure that these lodgings were suitable,
to classify them in order to establish tariffs for letting, and to hand the
lists over to Police Headquarters and to the Rome Hygiene Office for attention.
Before giving more specific details on the steps taken, we offer exact figures
to illustrate the increase in accommodation effected in the Province of
Rome from 1st January to 1st August 1960: 105 new hotels opened, for a
total of 2115 rooms, 3678 beds, and 1312 bathrooms.
On 1st August 1960 the total normal accommodation (in hotels, pensions,
and inns) consisted of 22,255 rooms, 37,666 beds, and 11,043 bathrooms for
the entire Province and 19,418 rooms, 32,614 beds, and 9,870 bathrooms for the
Commune of Rome.

The control of prices

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Price control (Table No. 1) was strictly enforced, thus rendering possible
a quick check-up on deviations from this rule. Travel agencies and hotelkeepers
revised their tariffs in conjunction with the Tourist Board.
As a result of the large number of tourists in Rome, the Complaints Office
was necessarily kept much busier than in preceding months, intervening in
many cases on behalf of the tourists and for the settling of disputes between
travel agencies and hotels.
To co-ordinate matters of this kind, a Committee composed of a representative
from the Tourist Board and representatives from the Hotelkeepers Association and the Association of Travel Agencies was set up in the headquarters
of the Italian Provincial Tourist Board.
The majority of the cases which arose were settled to the complete satisfaction
of all parties concerned.
We are pleased to report that, on the whole, the tourist organizations worked
conscientiously in accordance with the established rules.
Until December 1959 the Olympic Housing Office did not make any special
provision either in connection with reservation or confirmation of places
in camping sites. In fact, their exclusively seasonal activity and the mobile
nature of their equipment allowed for their preparation well before the beginning
of the Games.
The travel agencies and private persons were able to send their official
requests for reservations in complementary lodgings, supplying information
and details as required for reservation purposes.
In January 1960 the first allotments were made in the various camping
sites in and around Rome.
Reservations could be made:—
(a) by requests through the Olympic Housing Office;
(b) by applying directly to the camping sites in question.
Reservation requests for camping sites were divided into two categories:
(a) requests for tent space or caravan space for those possessing such means;
(b) requests for bed space in tents made available.
Reservations in the seven main camping sites in and around Rome (Monte
Antenne, EUR, Pineta di Roma, Roma Camping, Lido dei Pini, Castelfusano,
and ENAL 7 Colli), as confirmed by the Olympic Housing Office, numbered
9,981 up to 1st August 1960.
In the second fortnight of August and the first of September reservations
of places in camping sites by the Rome office were considerably less, many
tourists going direct to the camping sites where, in the majority of cases, they
had no difficulty in finding accommodation.

Accommodation in Institutes

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Within the Italian Provincial Tourists Board at Rome a special Section
was set up to deal with the registration and classification of available accommodation
in religious institutes, working in collaboration with the Peregrinatio
Romana ad Petri Sedem, the only body authorized to represent the institutes.
In all 4,594 beds were allotted.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Housing Office confirmed reservations made directly
in laical institutes, which had been left for free disposal, or in other premises
which the Office had access to, and amounting to a total of 8,933, in order
that the tourists in question could purchase tickets for the various Stadia upon
presentation of the certificate of accommodation issued by the Office. As the Games
drew close a further 1,097 beds were allocated, thus bringing the total to 5,691.
The Olympic Housing Office had control over the allotment of a total of
14,824 beds in 51 institutes for varying periods.
It is reported that only foreign tourists were lodged in those institutes on
which a check was made.
As a result of the appeal by the Mayor to the inhabitants of Rome and
the decree by the Prefect of Rome, a special section was set up within the Olympic
Housing Office for the purpose of receiving offers, checking up on them,
and inspecting the premises in question.
The internal work of the Office included:—
(a) acceptance of offers from private persons;
(b) daily registration of the names of those offering accommodation and
establishing the number of beds;
(c) dividing up the offer forms according to areas so that inspectors
could proceed to visit the accommodation. This visit established the category
and the number of beds in each room;
(d) compilation of lists of offers, including the number of rooms, of beds,
and their despatch to other interested offices;
(e) communication to those offering lodging of the categories awarded
to the rooms offered;
(f) arranging, where necessary, for further verifications when complaints
were received;
(g) communication to interested parties of rejection of offers on the
grounds of unsuitability of rooms.
After checking up by the inspectors, the forms were catalogued in the
following categories:
- Category 1A: rooms of first Category with private bathroom;
- Category 1B: rooms with bathroom shared with tenants or with other
tourists lodged in the same flat;
- Categories II and III: ordinary and modest rooms or without comfort.

The methods for reservation

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The card-index for assigned lodging numbered more than 5,000, corresponding
to little less than 8,000 beds; of these about 2,000 were cancelled by
those offering accommodation while the 1,500 beds cancelled by those requesting
accommodation were almost all reassigned.
The formalities of reservation were throughly studied in order to find the
best system of a guarantee both for those offering and for those reserving accommodation;
they provided for the paying, at the time of reservation, of
a deposit consisting of 20 % of the total sum, the balance to be paid not later
than 31st July 1960. Deposit and balance to be made out to the Olympic
Housing Office by means of cheque on the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Cancellations
had to be notified before the 30th April 1960.
After this date all deposits were confiscated and handed over to the lessor
as a forfeit.
The Olympic Housing Office, according to " Reservation Confirmation ",
assigned a total of almost 5,000 beds in private houses, of which about 3,000
were first category, 1,500 second and 500 third category for an average period
of 12 days. The period of major traffic was from 4th to 12th September. The
areas in greatest demand, besides the Flaminio quarter, were those of the centre
and Parioli and Prati.
The activities of the Office may be summarized by the following data:—

- rooms offered....................20,200
- beds offered.....................37,311
- rooms visited....................17,500 with 33,800 beds
- rooms cancelled..................1,377
- rooms rejected...................690.

There were 2,310 flats offered with a total of 11,700 beds. Of these only
60 were assigned, in view of the small number of requests received.
The public applying to the Olympic Housing Office was calculated to be a
daily average of 150 persons for the months of May 1959 to June 1960 and
450 from July 1960 to the end of the Olympic Games, with a total of some
97,500 persons.

Relations with Officially Accredited Agencies

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As far back as 1958 the Organizing Committee had sent a circular to the
officially accredited Travel Agencies of the various countries informing them
that the Italian Provincial Tourist Board had set up at Rome a special Olympic
Housing Office entrusted with dealing with accommodation available in
Rome in hotels, pensions, inns, institutes, colleges, camping sites, and private
houses.
The nation with which there was the greatest exchange of correspondence,
some 5,000 letters in all, was England, as requests for reservations of accommodation
also included those of British citizens living in various parts of the Commonwealth.
Germany followed with 4,500 letters, Australia with 2,400, Sweden with
1,800, France with 1,500, the United States with 600, and Norway with 440.
To these figures must be added the letters exchanged with other nations and
with Italian correspondents, bringing the total up to about 18,000 letters.
Special mention must be made of the work of the Olympic Housing Office
on behalf of the officially accredited Agencies, that is those Agencies which
were indicated by the National Olympic Committees and officially entrusted by
the Organizing Committee of the Games of the XVII Olympiad with the task
of selling tickets for the sports events and of making reservations for accommodation.
A first allotment of beds in hotels on behalf of all the 91 officially accredited
Agencies was made in May 1959 and a second allotment followed in November
of the same year for those Agencies who had asked for an increase in
the allotments made.
It is interesting to note that contacts were particularly close between
Agencies of very distant Countries, for example with Martin's Travel Service
of Kingston (Antilles), Maduro & Sons of Willemstad (Dutch Antilles), Play
Tours of Nassau (Bahamas), Harrison & Crosfield of Labuan (North Borneo),
Magis Island Tours of Haiti, Raymond Travel Service of Nairobi (Kenya),
Man George of Salisbury (Rhodesia), Everest Travel Service of Singapore,
Weightman's of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Equatorial Agency Ltd. of
Kampala (Uganda) with which a constant exchange of correspondence went
on, especially on hotel reservations.
The preference given to this type of accommodation and the slight amount
of interest shown by the agencies in the complementary accommodation is easily
explained by the great distance of such countries from Italy. The agencies
were thus catering for a limited category of persons who wished to stay in Rome
in comfortable hotel accommodation.
The collaboration of the Olympic Housing Office with these agencies went
further than the simple reservation of lodging; it was completed by efficient
assistance to the representatives of the officially accredited Agencies, when
these came to Rome, in the settling of disputes with hotels, in the regular despatch
of circulars of instructions as well as of explanations and information
on very enquiry made by these.
In addition, special mention should be made of the work of allotment to
the representatives of the Radio and Television Companies of the countries
taking part in the Games, following agreements reached with the Olympic Games
Centre of the Italian Radio and Television Company.
Close contact was maintained with the representatives of the Radio and
Television Companies of Australia, North Borneo, Canada, Czechoslovakia,
Denmark, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, England, Ireland, Iceland,
Israel, Italy, Luxemburg, Kenya, Malaya, and Malta, which asked the Olympic
Housing Office for information and reservations, obtaining the assistance required.

Statistical results

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The final results of action taken with regard to hospitality are clearly
shown, however, from an examination of the statistical data on the period of
the Olympic Games.
A summary examination of the final data on the above period (Table 2)
clearly indicates the vast numbers of outside visitors in occasion of the XVII
Olympic Games.
Checking showed the total arrivals to have been 196,986 with 1,234,972
persons present throughout the period, which means a daily average of sixty
thousand persons present. To these should be added all the various guests
whose presence it has not been possible to ascertain, such as relatives and friends
of residents in Rome and all those lodging in nearby places (Anzio, Tor Vaianica,
Santa Marinella, Fiuggi, etc.).
It is interesting to note the overwhelming numbers of foreigners on the
total data recorded (75 % of arrivals and 84.5 % of those present); this being
explained also by the fact, as already set out, that many Italians escaped statistical
recording for the reasons above mentioned.
In addition, it is interesting that once again first place in the classification
of arrivals went to the United States followed, in number of persons present by Germany, France, and Great Britain, who traditionally make up the tourist
influx towards Rome.
It is also important to remember that, among the various categories of
lodgings available to tourists, hotel books recorded an exceptionally high percentage of occupation, while other categories revealed the supplementary nature
of their function of reception.
The arrivals at the ten camping grounds prepared in and around Rome
was particularly outstanding. While the use of private lodgings was relatively
slight, especially in comparison to the other categories.
With the purpose of improving and completing the work of touristic assistance
to visitors, the Tourist Board decided to open a number of new Information
Offices which would be equipped to deal with requests for the allotments
of lodging and others of a general nature.
Thus, at the beginning of August 1960, six Information Offices were opened
to the public on the main roads into the city, i.e. on the Aurelia (at the
15th km.), Cassia (17th km.), Appia (13th km.), Pontina (11th km.), Salaria
(16th km.), and Flaminia (13th km.).
All requests for allotment of lodging for a total of 2,584 tourists and of
various information for a total of 5,747 tourists, representing groups considerably
larger numerically, were met to the entire satisfaction of the tourists
themselves.
During the whole period in which they operated the six " Consular " Information
Offices distributed propaganda material edited by the Tourist Board
to a total of 42,000 copies.
The Information Office at Termini Station was taken over for the period
from 20th August to 14th September by specially trained personnel. During
this period it effected reservations with hotel agencies and with private persons
to a total of 1,604 places and distributed propaganda material to a total of
7,500 copies.
Besides the above-mentioned offices, the Italian Provincial Tourist Board
in Rome set up a special information service equipped with its own personnel
and this functioned uninterruptedly at Termini Station from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,
being organized by the Olympic Committee.
Lastly, a special Tourist Information Office was set up by the Tourist
Board at Castelgandolfo.
Editorial activity already strongly supported by the Tourist Board, was
kept particularly busy during the period of the Olympic events themselves,
attempting to provide the numerous visitors and sports enthusiasts gathered
in the Capital with a full documentation on all the many interesting aspects
offered by the city.
Following the well-established practice, almost all publications were in
five languages, that is, besides Italian, in English, French, German, and Spanish,
while a number were also translated into Russian.
This material, of which more than a million copies were printed, was widely
circulated abroad by means of Delegations of the Italian State Tourist
Office and Diplomatic Agencies; in Italy through Travel Agencies and Information
Offices of the Tourist Board.