Beijing hopes to make $400 mln from Olympic tourists

By RIA Novosti,

Beijing : Beijing expects to earn around $400 mln from tourists during the 2008 Olympic Games, the deputy head of the Beijing Tourism Administration said on Tuesday.

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Beijing will play host to between 450,000 and 500,000 overseas visitors during August, including 120,000 who are expected to arrive to attend the Games.

“We expect an Olympic tourist revenue of around $400 mln,” Xiong Yumei said.

The China Daily paper earlier said that travel agencies were preparing for an increase in tourists ahead of the Olympic Games, while large numbers of reservations were being made at hotels and homestay accommodation.

About 78 percent of rooms at five-star hotels in Beijing have been booked, at an average rate of 3,464 yuan ($506) per night, 3.6 times the rate a year earlier, Xiong Yumei said.

At four-star hotels, 48.5 percent of rooms have been reserved, at an average rate of 2,185 yuan per night, a more than 300% increase.

More than 200,000 local employees have received training about the Olympics, international etiquette, and foreign languages. Many chefs specializing in Western cuisine at Olympic contracted hotels have also learned to speak English.

To supplement Beijing’s hotel resources, 598 homestay households were selected, offering 726 rooms for more than 1,000 potential guests.

The “Olympic family hotels” program, which was created in April, offers overseas visitors a chance to experience Beijing residents’ lives. Xiong said travel agencies from many countries have considered renting out rooms from these families.