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598 Olympic homestays announced in Beijing
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Zhu Rongjing (R) and Zhu Youyi play games at home beside the Olympic Homestay plate in Beijing, capital of China, July 11, 2008. Zhu's family was honored Olympic Homestay plate Friday.

China announced 598 homestays in Beijing for better communication between Olympic tourists and local residents on Friday.

As a supplement of Beijing's hotel resources, the households can offer 726 rooms for more than 1,000 visitors, said Xiong Yumei, deputy director of Beijing Tourism Administration.

An authorization ceremony for those families was held by the bureau on Friday morning at Shichahai, a popular bar spot in central Beijing.

The "Olympic homestays" program, which was created in April, offers foreign visitors a chance to experience Beijing citizens' real lives.

Xiong said travel agencies from Japan, the United States, Canada, Chile and Singapore have considered renting rooms from these families during the Games.

Up to 450,000 overseas tourists are expected to arrive in August, including 120,000 for the sporting event, she said. Beijing received 420,000 overseas visitors last August.

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