About 2 million tickets for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney have been put up for sale on the Web--the first time the Olympics have been marketed on the Internet (tickets are usually sold through agents in individual nations). The move by the Games' organizers came just a few weeks before the Sept. 15 opening day.
The Internet site is http://www.olympics.com. You can also call 011-61-137-279. Some of the most popular events, including opening ceremonies and women's all-round gymnastics, are sold out. Tickets have not been selling as fast as was hoped, an Olympics official in Sydney said, according to the trade newsletter Travel Management Daily. The newsletter also claimed good availability on Sydney hotel rooms.
Getting an affordable flight to Sydney may be more difficult. When contacted last week, a reservations agent for Australia's Qantas airlines said there was "limited availability." And high-season rates are in effect, even though this is not normally Australia's peak tourist season. For instance, the agent quoted 21-day, advance-purchase round-trip Qantas fares from LAX right before opening day at $1,594 to $1,749, about $500 to $700 higher than such fares typically are for other travel periods.
Cartan Tours, the Manhattan Beach travel agency that holds the exclusive Olympic ticket agent concession in the U.S., expressed disappointment in the decision to sell tickets on the Internet. Don Williams, Cartan's vice president for sales and marketing, acknowledged that Cartan's prices are higher than those on the Olympics Web site because Cartan bought tickets two years ago, when the Australian dollar was worth more, and added a handling charge.
Despite record prices for many events, the rate of ticket sales in the U.S. is about the same as in the past, according to Williams. He said last week that Cartan has about 15,000 to 20,000 event tickets still available for sale, out of its allotment of 150,000. The company also sells packages with tickets, lodging and air. Telephone (800) 818-1998, fax (310) 546-8433, Internet http://www.cartan.com.