Beijing's booming hot spring resorts have been ordered to raise their hygiene standards after health inspectors found two-thirds of them failed bacteria tests.
The city health bureau took water samples from 22 resorts in the first inspection of its kind, and found just 27.3 percent passed the bacteria standards.
The tests detected "no bacteria that are hazardous to human health", but the bureau advised visitors to take showers before and after bathing, said Cai Changjing, head of the publicity office under the Beijing Health Supervision Institution.
"So far, we have received no reports of people falling ill because of bathing in hot springs," said Cai.
The tests, carried out by Beijing Health Institution, showed that the well-known Beijing Longmai Thermal Spring Resort, Beijing Jiuhua Spa and Resort, and five other resorts failed to completely disinfect the water, which led to an excessive amount of bacteria.
Beijing Health Bureau instructed all public bathing resorts to change the water at least once a day and thoroughly disinfect bathing facilities, warning that more inspections will be made.
Hot spring resorts, mostly located in Beijing's outlying regions, have become popular venues for meetings and family gatherings on holidays as hot spring bathing is believed to be healthy.
Statistics from the government of Xiaotangshan Town, home to more than 20 natural hot spring resorts, shows the town received 7.18 million visitors in 2006, bringing 7.18 million yuan in tourism revenue.
The Beijing Jiuhua Spa and Resort alone, the largest bath club in Xiaotangshan, received more than one million visitors with an annual income of more than 500 million yuan in 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2007)