BEIJING: The Beijing Olympics is just two weeks away, but hotels said the take-up rate for their rooms has not been as good as expected.
Many potential visitors have been deterred by visa restrictions imposed by China ahead of the Games.
The Olympics had been expected to draw a record number of visitors to China’s capital and its neighbouring cities, but the number of bookings for five-star hotels currently stands at 77 per cent, while four-star hotels report bookings of about 45 per cent.
That did not stop the Beijing Tourism Administration from launching its latest campaign amidst much fanfare.
Beijing has been criticised for taking the festive mood away from the Olympic celebrations with its tight grip on tourists and visitors.
However, the city’s tourism chief said the lack of visitors is not inconsistent with the experiences of former host cities.
Zhang Huiguang, director of Beijing Tourism Administration, said: “Any Olympic host country would have taken measures to ensure the safety of their international guests. People will understand that.
“People who are unable to visit because they could not get tickets to the Olympics or they find the room rates and air tickets too expensive are most welcome to visit Beijing after the Games.”
The Tourism Administration has clearly set its sights on getting tourists to Beijing after the Games.
It has published new multilingual brochures featuring a variety of tours in Beijing and has commissioned renowned Chinese director, Feng Xiaogang, to showcase the capital city at its best.
The once bustling Beijing has calmed down lately as authorities try to remove any obstacles that could prevent it from holding a successful Olympics.
Despite the heat from detractors, Beijing presses on, knowing that the ripple effect of a good show will go a long way.
Channel News Asia