By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

September 15 - Munich 2018 today introduced the first of, what it claims, will be many "friends of the bid" located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, by unveiling Riessersee Hotel Sport & Spa Resort who have promised to introduce the concept of barrier free winter sports tourism, ensuring that people with a disability can still take part in winter sport. 

If Munich is chosen to host the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics, the hotel is expected to host members of the Olympic and the Paralympic family at its location between the Olympic Ski Stadium and Kandahar Alpine Speed Arena, both proposed venues for the Games. 

The Munich 2018 sustainability concept will be complemented by the Riessersee Hotel Sport & Spa’s campaign for barrier free tourism in the state of Bavaria with the hotel seeking to invest in opening up a new brand of accessible leisure facilities in the area.
Jürgen Bühl, the managing director of Munich 2018, said: "We are delighted to welcome the Riessersee Hotel as a new ‘friend of the bid’.

"The partnership demonstrates that major regional tourism organisations acknowledge the enormous legacy potential of hosting the Games in 2018.

"Today we are very excited to secure a partner who is so dedicated to sustainably improving conditions for people with a disability.

"The Munich 2018 Bid Committee hopes that with the help of our new partner, we can strengthen our athlete friendly concept and guarantee the best conditions for athletes and officials at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games."

The announcement of the deal is a boost to Munich after the decision earlier this week by an umbrella group of German conservation organisations, Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), to withdraw its support from the bid and label its plans in Garmisch-Partenkirchen "irresponsible".
But Gert Zinn, the general manager at the Riessersee Hotel, claimed that there was plenty of support for Munich's bid in the area.

He said: "We are officially announcing our commitment to give a voice to all the supporters of the Munich 2018 bid here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

"Fifty percent of our rooms are already wheelchair accessible, but if Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the sliding centre at Königssee are selected to host the Winter Games in 2018, we will refurbish the hotel.

"We are dedicated to developing a barrier free environment and look forward to positively contributing to what will possibly be the most inclusive Winter Games ever."
Bühl added: "This new collaboration will build on the successful opening of the Munich 2018 information office in Garmisch-Partenkirchen earlier in the year and a major publicity drive where we are seeing a strong increase in support for the bid from communities and businesses across the region."

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