By Michael Place
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Rio de Janeiro city mayor Eduardo Paes says preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games are on track despite lingering concerns about a lack of new hotels.
Speaking on the opening day of a four-day meeting between Brazilian officials and the International Olympic Committee's 2016 coordination commission, Paes admitted Rio had not yet met its target of making available 27,800 hotel rooms by 2013.
Chief among concerns is a lack of new developments in the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, which will host most of the venues for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"As the Games get closer the deadlines become shorter. But I think that in these next three days we will show that preparations for the Games are going well," Paes said.
"The concern is with certain places like Barra da Tijuca, where there is still a deficit of 700 hotel rooms. We already have 14,300 guaranteed but we are aware of the situation and working towards bridging the gap."
According to Paes, Rio will boast 12,000 new hotel rooms by 2015, as outlined in the city's winning bid to host the Games in 2009.
Paes added that 90 percent of Rio's Olympic budget had been finalized but declined to estimate the overall cost to Brazilian tax payers.
According to non-government consultancy Contas Abertas the budget will rise to 20 billion US dollars, up from the original forecast of 15 billion US dollars.