Shanghai Blissfully Unaffected By Olympic Games Fever

SHANGHAI: While Beijing waits for the Olympic tourism gold rush to materialise, the financial hub of Shanghai appears to be blissfully unaffected by the Games fever.

Half a million foreign guests were supposed to visit the capital for the Olympic Games in August, but some of them did not show up. To fill vacant rooms, some Beijing hotels are slashing room rates by as much as 30 per cent.

The situation is quite different for the hotel industry in Shanghai.

Cindy Bi, director of sales and marketing, Jianguo Hotel Shanghai, said: “For July last year, our month-to-date occupancy rate is 80 per cent, while this year, it is 75 per cent. Speaking of room revenue, we have achieved more revenue. We achieved more than last year, but the increase is very slight.”

Shanghai is the co-host city for the Olympic Games, seeing a total of 12 soccer games.

Analysts said although new visa restrictions and tighter security measures may have discouraged some visitors, this has not created a significant dent in Shanghai’s hotel occupancy.

Zhao Renrong, senior economist, Shanghai Hotel Industry Association, said: “We don’t think the security measures will have much of an influence. It is just a kind of mentality to avoid the rush and to change their itineraries.

“Some guests will definitely come because they will have to participate in the Games and some to watch the Games. These won’t change. For the past several years, the rates, revenue and profit of Shanghai’s hotel industry probably exceeded that of Beijing.”

According to the Shanghai Hotel Industry Association, the city received six million overseas tourists last year, plus another 100 million domestic travellers.

It is expecting the same figure for this year, despite the dip in hotel occupancy rate during the Olympic Games.

In fact, the financial hub is expecting to see tourist numbers pick up between September and November when Shanghai’s annual tourism hits its second peak.

– CNA/so

Channel News Asia

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