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Olympics boosts Beijing`s tourism

As an ancient capital and the political and cultural center of modern China, Beijing is viewed…

As an ancient capital and the political and cultural center of modern China, Beijing is viewed as a charming destination for tourists.

In 2004 alone, the metropolis received over 3 million overseas and 100 million domestic tourists, creating a total income value of 130 billion yuan, or over 16 billion US dollars for the local economy.

As the 2008 summer Olympics are approaching, Vice director of the Beijing Tourism Bureau Xiong Yumei said Beijing`s tourism industry is now facing an unprecedented opportunity.

According to our estimation, the number of tourists will increase by 7 to 8 percent from 2005-2007, and the increase rate in 2008 will reach 13 percent. By then, Beijing will see 4.4 million overseas and 150 million domestic tourists traveling to the city, Xiong said.

To make full use of this golden chance, great efforts should be made first to solve current problems. Compared with similar cities in other countries, Beijing still needs more high-class hotels.

Illegal behaviors are also easy to find at some of its tourist sites. And relevant information is sometimes hard to reach.

Xiong Yumei from Beijing Tourism Bureau talked about their plan in the coming 3 years.

Xiong said, Beijing now has 630 high-class hotels ranked by stars. The government promised when bidding for the Olympics that Beijing will build 800 high-class hotels by 2008. We`ll reach that goal by building some new and reconstructing some old ones.

Beijing has in the first half of this year invested 50 million yuan, or over 6 million US dallars to improve traffic conditions and protect the ecological environment near some key sites.

The municipal government is also making efforts to greatly improve the service quality at its tourist sites. It plans to set up a Tourist Information Center, providing information of accommodation, traveling, shopping, entertainment, ticket booking and so on.

Vocational trainings will be carried on in the next 3 years among working staffs in this field, aiming to raise their foreign language skills and overall service qualities.

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