Home / 2008 Beijing Olympic Games / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Olympic homestays open door to Beijing life
Adjust font size:

Zhu Baohua beamed proudly as he showed a group of American visitors a century-old wooden bed in his house.

Zhu, in his fifties, is the owner of a siheyuan, a traditional courtyard home in downtown Beijing. He was among 598 Beijing homeowners selected as an Olympic host by the city tourism administration on Friday.

The administration initiated the homestay program in April, offering overseas visitors a chance to get to the heart of the Beijing life.

As a supplement to the city's hotels, these households could offer 726 rooms for more than 1,000 visitors, said Xiong Yumei, deputy director of Beijing Tourism Administration.

Most of the families lived near major stadiums, trunk roads, cultural sites and hutongs, or alleyways, making it easy for visitors to enjoy the capital, Xiong said.

Before selecting the families, officials inspected ventilation, lighting, fire safety and sanitation conditions to make sure they met requirements.

Officials recommended rates at 60 to 80 U.S. dollars for each bed per night, but said individual rates could be negotiated between the visitors and the landlords.

For Beijing natives like Zhu, hosting overseas tourists is not only a chance to make a little cash, but also a chance to share his culture.

Zhu's house was bought by his family in the early 1900s. In 2004, he spent more than 4 million yuan (579,710 U.S. dollars) on renovations:"westernizing" the toilet, installing air conditioning and high-definition televisions.

"The whole family are learning the history of siheyuan and hutong. We are professional tour guides now," Zhu said. He also invited his nephews, nieces and their friends who speak English to translate for visitors.

On Sunday, the Zhu family received dozens of foreign tourists who come to see the home.

"In your constitution, you have the pursuit of happiness. Although our cultures are different, we do have a lot in common," a nephew, Zhao Dongyan, told some U.S. visitors, pointing to a red Chinese character "Fu", which translates to blessing or happiness.

1   2    

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- 598 Olympic homestays announced in Beijing
- Beijingers make room for guests
- Olympics homestay available to Asians
- Olympic homestay families welcome foreigners
Most Viewed >>
- 598 Olympic homestays announced in Beijing
- China's 'Crane Town' embraces Olympic flame
- Beijing nears fulfillment of 7 years' work in Olympics
- The Olympics ten big mysteries
- Diving: Guo Jingjing

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys