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Olympic room rate reports downplayed
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Hotel room rates for tourists during next year's Olympics will not be as high as previously reported by Chinese media, officials from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) said yesterday.

Local media reports earlier this year said hotels in the capital were planning to charge non-official visitors eight to 10 times their usual rates.

Xiang Ping, deputy director of the BOCOG's Games services department, said some hotel owners had announced high rates to see how the market would respond.

She said prices would likely drop, however, once the supply of rooms increases.

"It is just a game between hotel owners and the market," Xiang said.

"Hotel owners have been getting a lot of room inquiries, signaling that demand is extremely high, so they released high rates.

"The exorbitant rates are mainly a sales strategy, and reasonable deals are still available if buyers haggle," she said.

Xiang said very few hotels have actually signed contracts with clients, and those that have are not that expensive.

The BOCOG has signed contracts with 120 hotels to accommodate the "Olympic Family", which includes visiting Olympic officials, media professionals and sponsors. The prices of 30,000 contracted rooms are lower than those previously quoted by the BOCOG.

"The average price per night at a five-star contracted hotel is just over 2,800 yuan ($380). We had previously said 2,960 yuan," Xiang said.

"About 80 percent of those rooms have been booked."

She said that although the government will not intervene to stop owners of tourist hotels hiking prices, she was confident the market will lead to reasonable prices as the Games approached.

Some 500,000 foreign visitors and one million domestic tourists are expected to pour into Beijing for the Games.

(China Daily December 12, 2007)

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