If you're thinking of attending the 1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia next Feb. 8 to Feb. 19, there are a number of tour options you might want to consider now—before it's too late.
Thirty thousand visitors, a sixth of them from the U.S., are expected to descend on Sarajevo. Because there are only 3,000 hotel beds in the city, two Olympic villages have been built, one for athletes, the other, with 1,700 beds, for spectators. Hundreds of Yugoslav families will rent their houses to visitors, while others will host paying guests. Hotels and restaurants will bring in tourist-oriented personnel from other towns, and an overall Games plan is being organized through one office, Zoitours, a consortium of the country's 12 major tourist agencies.
"This is going to be a marvelous experience, especially for winter-sports oriented people," said one agent. "The organizational end of it is very good, and the Yugoslavs so want it to be comfortable. If you stay in an apartment, someone will even come in and cook you breakfast."
If you decide to go it alone, rock-bottom group-rate air fares may run as low as $704 (from New York), and hotel rooms will cost $70 and up. Category I tickets, consisting of reserved seating in the arenas and preferred locations near finish lines on the ski slopes, start at $22 apiece. Category II tickets go as low as $3 for such minor attractions as skaters doing their compulsory figures or for less-than-choice seating at the more popular events.
Zoitours in Sarajevo will handle individual requests, but you'd be better off dealing with one of the 12 authorized U.S. agents. Some offer no-frills deals for as little as $689 plus air fare for a week-long stay (Great Destinations, New York City) and $999 plus air fare for a fortnight (Megavent International, New York City). There are also frill-filled plans, including air fare and escorts to parties and side trips, for as much as $4,580 (Adriatic Tours, San Pedro, Calif.). Amity Tours (Los Altos, Calif.) offers a $3,960 package that includes a post-Olympic ski trip to Jahorina, the site of the women's Alpine events.
Every package offers a selection of tickets. Those agents who specialize in taking groups to sporting events can virtually guarantee that you will get the tickets you want. Executive Travel Advisors (Burlingame, Calif.) along with CIT L.A. (Encino, Calif.) have several sports packages—skating, skiing (both Alpine and Nordic), hockey—for $2,500 plus air fare. GlobalSports (Weston, Mass.) augments its basic $2,850 plan with three separate ticket packages, ranging from $400 to $615, for figure skating, Alpine skiing and hockey, though all include a sampling of other events. Most of the other agents will do their best to accommodate your ticket preferences on a first-come, first-served basis. CJS Travel (Coral Gables. Fla.), for one, still has plenty of tickets, partly because it entered the Olympic business just a few months ago.
Plane Travel (Forestville, Md.), Northern Recreation Travel (Duluth) and Yugotours in New York City can also arrange trips to the Games. In Canada, HBC Travel Ltd. is the official agent, appointed by the national Olympic committee.
Apart from the Games and what the organizers expect to be ample accommodations, Sarajevo will offer tourists a chance to sample raz≈àjiƒçi (grilled pork sausage) and slivovitz as well as excellent local wines in cozy restaurants throughout the city. History buffs may want to visit the spot near the Princip Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassin stood and fired his pistol on June 28, 1914.
According to Dejan ≈Ωivojinoviƒç, director of the Yugoslav National Tourist Office in New York, "Sarajevo is a substantial city, and Yugoslavia is a tourist country. Why, there is a town on the Adriatic—Poreƒç—that handles 100,000 tourists a day during the summer. It's only a matter of organization." And advance planning.
A few caveats: Before deciding on a tour, you'd be wise to shop around. Some include a 15% tax and service charge; some don't. Not all tours include tickets to the Games as part of the total package price. And depending on your city of departure, the air fare to Yugoslavia may hike your trip's overall cost by several hundred dollars.