Provincial officials knew when booking hotel rooms for a trip to the London Olympics that there would be a no-cancellation policy, a spokesperson with the tourism ministry said Tuesday.
Criticism from opposition parties and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation arose Monday after it was revealed that a six-day trip to the Games taken by Premier Alison Redford, two cabinet ministers, staff and a number of Alberta performers racked up a total bill in excess of $500,000. Included in that was a roughly $113,000 charge for hotel rooms at the five-star, Le Meridien Piccadilly that went unused after the province scaled back the size of its entourage in the face of weakening budget projections.
“Going in, we knew we had to pay upfront, that there was a no-cancellation policy,” said tourism ministry spokesperson Katrina Bluetchen. “That was the norm for hotels operating in London around the time of the Olympics.”
Ken Stewart with Calgary-based Crowfoot Travel Solutions said hotel no-cancellation policies are not unheard of.
“I’m guessing, but the policies were probably set up during the Olympics so they knew what they were going to have for availability,” he said.