Beijing seeks foreign funds to upgrade hotels for Olympics

BEIJING tourism authorities plan to issue a package of projects for overseas investors who may want a piece of the Olympic pie.  

One of the eye-catching prospects is a project to upgrade the facilities and services of the city's more than 4,000 non-star hotels to meet the influx of tourists during the 2008 Olympic Games, said Wen Ziji, vice-director of the Beijing Tourism Bureau.  

The city estimates that 4.4 million foreign tourists and 100 million Chinese travellers will visit Beijing that year.  

Particularly in August when the Games will be staged, 600,000 foreigners and 1.1 million Chinese from other cities are expected to pour into Beijing.  

To accommodate the huge upsurge in visitors, Beijing needs at least 200 more star hotels or 30,000 more rooms in addition to the current 600 star hotels with 100,000 rooms, said Wen.  

“We welcome foreign hotel groups to take part in the reconstruction of the city's non-star hotels and improve their services.  

“It's a huge potential market as the number of foreign tourists to Beijing is expected to go up by 7% annually,” said Wen during a two-day International Forum on the Hotel Industry that opened in Beijing on Wednesday.  

The World Tourism Organisation forecast China will surpass France to become the world's leading tourist destination by 2020, when inbound tourists may reach 210 million, bringing in more than 2,500 billion yuan (RM1,148bil).  

There are also plans to open the management of China's more than 300 scenic spots and cultural heritage sites to foreign investors.  

“Foreign institutions are encouraged to participate in the design, reconstruction and management of the commercial scenic spots,” said Wen. – China Daily  

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