CHINA’S catering and tourism industries are taking the opportunity for renovation and improvement as business dives during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
As people avoid hotels, restaurants and other places in fear of catching the disease, many businesses are getting around to projects they are unable to undertake in normal times.
The Jinjiang Group, the largest hotel group of Shanghai, still has much business to attend to.
“We have decided to bring forward renovation and employee training programmes in some of our hotels,” said an executive with the hotel management company.
Certain hotels will suspend business for renovation and training.
But some, like the five-star New Jinjiang Hotel, remains open while undergoing a facelift. “We’ll greet the revival of the tourism industry with a brand-new image,” said the executive.
In the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, a tourist area in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, brisk construction has replaced the swarms of tourists.
“There are much fewer tourists now, but we have a precious opportunity to accelerate the upgrading of our accommodation facilities,” said a planning official of the prefecture, home to the world-renowned Jiuzhaigou Natural Scenic Reserve and the Yellow Dragon Resort.
Jiuzhaigou was listed by Unesco as a world heritage site in 1992. It joined the international protection network of “man and biosphere” in 1997. Yellow Dragon joined “man and biosphere” in 2000.
The official said tourist arrivals had increased at double-digit speed in recent years and pressure on transportation and accommodation facilities was enormous. “But due to the outbreak of SARS, tourist arrivals in May, June and July will drop by one million compared with the same period last year,” the official predicted.
Projects under construction include tunnels, highways and an airport. Jiuzhaigou-Yellow Dragon airport would be ready for trial operations by the end of September. – People's Daily
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