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During the First Week of the Olympics Beijing Hotel Occupancy Rates Down in
All Categories with the Exception of Five-star Hotels / Beijing Tourism Bureau

by Mohit Joshi on Thu, August 21, 2008

Beijing, China - Five-star hotels apart, Beijing's hotels are seeing a drop in occupancy rate during the Olympic Games, officials said Thursday.

Xiong Yumei, deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Bureau, told a news conference that five-star hotels have enjoyed an occupancy rate of around 81 percent during the Olympics, which began on Aug. 8. That was much higher than last year's 69 percent.

But four-star hotels were seeing an average occupancy rate of just 60 percent, lower than the 69 percent last year, Xiong said.

Three-star hotels' occupancy rate, meanwhile, ranged between 30 percent to 50 percent, also lower than last year, she said.

"One of the reasons is related to the rapid increase in the number of Beijing hotels," said Xiong.

The number of star-rated hotels in the capital increased by 118 from 2006 to 818 this July, Xiong said. Smaller hotels also rose in number by 955 to 4,978 during the same period.

Corresponding with the increase in hotels, the increase in rooms at the star-rated hotels reached nearly 10,000, while the number of rooms in smaller hotels increased by 52,000 to 209,000 rooms, said Xiong.

"So the drop in occupancy rate does not necessarily mean an overall drop in tourists figures," he said.

Figures on tourists numbers and total tourism earnings were not immediately available, she said.

Tourism officials had expected occupancy rates to reach 90 per cent and above for the August 8-24 Olympics and had expected 400,000 to 450,000 foreign visitors during the Games. They had said the expected up to 40 million dollars in income from foreign tourists in August alone.

Beijing's five and four-star hotels mainly catered to overseas guests, while hotels that are three stars and below served mostly domestic tourists, Xiong said.

Xiong said officials were already looking ahead to see how Beijing could boost tourism after the Olympics by capitalizing on public interests in the Olympics venues, such as the Water Cube, where Michael Phelps won eight gold medals, and the Bird's Nest, where so many popular athletes competed.

"We believe that holding the Olympic Games will leave a lot of tourism resources to Beijing's tourism industry," said Xiong.

The auditing giant Deloitte meanwhile conducted a survey which showed that on the Games' opening night, revenue per available room (revPAR) in the Chinese capital's hotels increased 546 percent to 390 U. S. dollars from the same period a year ago, the official Xinhua news agency said.

In addition, occupancy reached 86.3 percent, while average room rates increased 421 percent to 451 U. S. dollars (up 364 U. S. dollars from the average of 87 U. S. dollars on the same day in 2007), said Xinhua.

Before the opening of the Olympics, hoteliers said they had to reduce rates by 10 to 20 percent because there was no rush of visitors as expected.

Beijing's tourism bureau said that in June, 19.9 per cent fewer overseas tourists visited Beijing than in the same month last year. Figures for July and August were not yet available.

Industry sources blamed the lower than expected turnout on high prices and difficulties getting visas as China tried to prevent potential protestors from entering.

Anti-Chinese demonstrations, riots and a government crackdown in Tibetan areas in the spring also might have turned some tourists off.
Room prices in an average three-star hotel have been reduced from 700 yuan (104 dollars) in May and June to 400 yuan per night for the Olympics while four-star hotels have dropped from 1,500 yuan to 800 yuan per night, the English-language China Daily had said. (dpa)


Beijing Tourism Bureau



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