Foreign visitors set to spend US$400m in Beijing

2008-07-16 03:19:49 GMT       2008-07-16 11:19:49 (Beijing Time)       China Daily

The Olympic Games could be worth as much as $400 million in tourism revenue to Beijing, a city official said yesterday.

"We expect to receive about 400,000-450,000 overseas tourists during the Olympics. Based on last year's figures, each is expected to spend $1,005, so the total should be about $400 million," Xiong Yumei, deputy director of the Beijing tourism administration, said.

"We will also receive a lot of tourists from within China. Last year, these spent an average of 1,400 yuan ($205), so this will add to the total," she said.

As the Games near, Beijing's hotels are filling up fast, and prices are falling, Xiong said.

By the end of May, five-star hotels in the city had an average reservation rate of about 78 percent, with the rate for four-star hotels at 45 percent, she said.

"The rates are within our estimates," Xiong said.

"There are still quite a lot of people from other cities and provinces who have tickets but have not yet booked rooms. So, by the time August comes, the occupancy rate will be much higher," she said.

The average nightly room rate for three- and four-star hotels has dropped by about 40 yuan since May, but is still three to four times last year's figure, Xiong said.

"As the reservation rate increases, it is normal for prices to drop," she said.

Beijing has 5,790 registered boarding facilities, including 816 star-ranked hotels with a total of 339,000 rooms and 665,000 beds. Of those, 119 have contracts with Olympic authorities to provide accommodation for accredited visitors.

Beijing authorities are also working hard to improve services for tourists visiting the city, Xiong said.

About 200,000 people involved with the Games are now being trained in customer service, and 56 information booths will be set up to provide tourist information throughout the city, she said.

"Also, during the Games, travel agencies will extend their services to the Olympic Village as well as providing services to athletes, coaches and officials in at least eight languages," Xiong said.

"The tourism industry is ready. We will offer top quality services for guests from home and abroad."

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