A source from the Beijing Tourism Administration (BTA) said the capital has a total of 601 star-rated hotels after the addition of eight newly rated hotels this September. They are confident of being able to provide 800 star-rated hotels with 130,000 rooms before the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games.
At the end of September, Beijing's star-rated hotels included 33 five-star, 68 four-star, 204 three-star, 253 two-star and 43 one-star establishments.
The eight newly star-rated hotels include one each with five and four stars (Grand Hyatt and Shunxin Green Resort respectively) as well as 3 three-star hotels and 3 two-star hotels. In addition, a former three-star hotel, Sichuan Longzhuashu Guesthouse, was upgraded to four-stars.
In order to meet China's commitment to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), 200 more hotels are needed to accommodate an estimated 800,000 visitors including athletes, officials, reporters, volunteers and spectators.
An official from BTA's Hotel Management Department said an average of 100 hotels in Beijing have been rated annually during the last few years. "Based on an annual rate of increase of 7 percent we are confident about fulfilling our commitment, since most of remaining requirement is for lower grade accommodation."
At present, Beijing has more than 4,000 un-rated establishments with over half a million rooms. The official continued, "In the next few years, Beijing will add more star-rated hotels and rooms through reconstructing and upgrading hostels and expanding existing small hotels."
Budget hotel chains have recently increased their popularity in the city while numerous five- and four-star hotels have had to offer discounts to maintain a decent occupancy rate. A source from Xinhua News Agency reported that visitor numbers to Athens before and during the Olympic Games were lower than expected due to unreasonably high accommodation costs.
(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong, October 15, 2004)