Travel agencies are preparing for a boom in customers ahead of the Olympic Games, while large numbers of reservations are being made at prime hotels and for homestay rooms, a city tourism official said on Friday.
About 78 percent of rooms at five-star hotels in Beijing have been booked, at an average rate of 3,464 yuan (6) per night, 3.6 times the rate a year earlier, Xiong Yumei, the Beijing Tourism Bureau's vice-director, said.
At four-star hotels, 48.5 percent of rooms have been reserved, at an average rate of 2,185 yuan per night, 4.6 times that of a year earlier. Lower-ranked hotels have lower reservation rates.
Among all the star-ranked hotels in the capital, 119 have signed contracts with the Olympics authorities.
Most of the contracted hotels are five-star facilities, and Xiong said most of them were largely booked out.
Xiong, who is also the bureau's spokeswoman, said the hotel reservation rate is unlikely to change much ahead of the Games, and the priority now is to get fully prepared for incoming guests.
More than 200,000 employees have received training about the Olympics, international etiquette and foreign languages. Many chefs specializing in Western cuisine at 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.
An authorization ceremony for those families was held by the bureau on Friday morning at Shichahai, a popular bar spot in central Beijing.
The "Olympic family hotels" program, which was created in April, offers overseas visitors a chance to experience Beijing residents' real lives.
Xiong said travel agencies from many countries have considered renting rooms from these families. Up to 450,000 overseas tourists are expected to arrive in August, including 120,000 for the sporting event, she said.
Editor: canton fair