The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has slammed the prices being charged by Thomas Cook for the hotel and ticket packages it is offering for next year's London Olympics.
He is concerned that the hefty hike in room rates rooms will have a long-term damaging impact on London's hotels and as a result is launching a new fair pricing charter for visitors - aimed at hotels and restaurants - to complement the 2012 UK Events Industry Fair Pricing and Practice Charter.
In one of the most extreme cases, Thomas Cook is offering a three-night package for two people to the Waldorf Hilton for £12,998, which will include entry to four events, including the closing ceremony.
"Hiking up prices and taking advantage of London's guests in 2012 is just wrong." said Johnson. "It just sends out completely the wrong message when we have such a unique opportunity to sell London to the world.
"If some hotels want to carry on following this foolish route, who could blame visitors who conclude that their first visit to London will be their last and everyone will be losers."
Johnson is now urging hoteliers to sign up to the new fair pricing charter, which is due to be launched in April in order "to distance themselves from these sharks."
However, Thomas Cook said that it has been "inundated" with enquiries and bookings since launching the packages on 15 March. A company spokesperson said that the Games Break Plus option - such as the one offered for the Waldorf Hilton - guarantees bookings at London's best hotels and the best events, as well as hosted service, meals and private coach transfers.
"Our packages offer much more than just a ticket/hotel combination and any comparison relies on successfully obtaining all those tickets as outlined in the short break - they're blue ribbon events that will be in high demand," she said. "These are guaranteed tickets now, they are not connected with the ballot system.
"Current separate hotel prices cannot be compared to this - as with all high-demand dates, they will be higher and in most cases are not yet available to book for August 2012."
Thomas Cook added that it aims to offer a range of Games breaks, with prices starting at £99 for one night at the Premier Inn Heathrow and a ticket to the hockey men's classification event for one person.
By Janet Harmer
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