Tourism Slow as Olympics Approach

Beijing’s forthcoming Olympic Games do not appear to be drawing as many people to the capital as expected this year, according to Michael Bristow from BBC News:

Figures show the number of international tourists visiting the Chinese capital fell by more than 14% in May compared to the year before. Officials had hoped the Olympics would help attract increasing numbers of foreign tourists to Beijing throughout the year and beyond. But tougher visa requirements, and concerns that officials are more worried about security than organising a party, appears to have dampened demand. Figures from Beijing Bureau show there were far fewer visitors from Japan, South Korea and the United States – three big markets – in May.

Hotels, such as China World, say bookings are down. A number of new hotels have been built for an Olympic opening, others have been refurbished, but many say business is slow.

“Our business in June and for July is not as good as last year. There are now fewer foreign tourists,” said a spokeswoman from Beijing’s Swiss Hotel. Tourism chiefs blame the negative publicity caused by the snow storms in southern China earlier this year and the Sichuan earthquake.

Read also “China doubles the price of its tourist visas ahead of Olympics” from the Guardian.

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