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Beijing prepares for foreign tourists
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Beijing is pulling out all stops to welcome foreign tourists, well ahead of next year's Olympics Games.

The country's largest inbound tourism service, China International Travel Service (CITS), said yesterday that by August next year, tourists will be able to get information and book tours on its website in six languages - English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese.

It is also improving its online payment service for domestic travel agencies.

"Walk-in tourists from home and abroad are the focus of our business strategy for the Games. We plan to provide services on multiple levels for them," said CITS Head Office president Yao Yuecan at the opening of a travel fair in Kunming, Yunnan Province yesterday.

In addition to the multilingual website, the network includes a 24-hour hotline in the six foreign languages.

Xiong Yumei, deputy director of the Beijing tourism administration, also gave his assurance that the number of hotel rooms in the capital will be adequate to meet estimated demand.

There were initial worries that supply could not meet the estimated 2.5 million spectators of the Games - of which 500,000 would be foreigners.

The survey found Beijing with 5,780 hotels and guesthouses in September, which can provide 646,400 beds.

By the first half of next year, there will be 800 star hotels, adding 50,000 beds.

Xiong said the abundant supply of rooms will ensure prices are kept reasonable during the Games.

Airport services are also being improved. The Beijing Capital International Airport said yesterday it will provide car rentals in the new third terminal before the Games.

Other services in the pipeline include short-stay hotels, wireless Internet and a cinema.

(China Daily November 3, 2007)

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