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Chinese hotels cut rates to attract guests during Canton fair
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Hoteliers in south China's Guangdong Province are slashing prices to attract overseas visitors to the 105th Canton fair scheduled to open next week.

Guangzhou Hotels Association, a regulatory organization that oversees more than 2,000 hoteliers in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, has published its detailed advisory prices, which were said to be 20 percent lower than those of previous years.

The list covers rooms at hotels rated two stars or more for next week's fair and the 106th Canton fair in October.

A document posted on the website of Guangzhou Hotels Association lists advisory prices for a standard room, a luxury room and a business suite at a five-star hotel at 1,790 yuan (263 U.S dollars), 1,980 yuan and 2,310 yuan, respectively.

Association president Lin Weimin said Wednesday that reservations were down in comparison with past spring fairs.

Lin said the advisory prices were set after the local government said it would support development of Canton fair, and supply and demand of hotel rooms were studied.

"The fall in reservations shows the impact of the global financial crisis on the real economy is continuing to grow," said Lin.

"We are taking the initiative to adjust our strategy to operate hotels and to attract more guests, hoping to limit the impact."

Hoteliers also had to work hard to improve the quality of services in order to survive, said Lin.

Many Guangzhou hotels are offering rooms at prices lower than the advisory prices stipulated by the association.

A staff member at the five-star Dongfang Hotel, on Liuhua Road, said it was charging on average 400 to 500 yuan less per room compared with a year ago.

More business people are choosing to stay in private apartments near the fair for monthly rents of about 5,000 yuan.

The China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as Canton fair, is regarded as a weather vane of China's foreign trade. The 105th Canton fair would run from April 15 to May 7.

Mu Xinhai, spokesman for the event, said invitations had been sent to 800,000 overseas buyers.

The fair, which will be held in three phases, will accommodate more than 55,000 stands with a total exhibition area of up to 1.1 million square meters.

A total of 55,057 stands had been booked by exhibitors, exceeding the number at the 104th fair last year, said Mu.

(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2009)

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