Beijing tourism authorities said Thursday the capital would launch recruitment for homestay accommodations for Olympic visitors on Friday.
Xiong Yumei, Beijing Tourism Bureau's deputy director, said in a news briefing that citizens in eight urban districts could apply to nearby community offices if they think their housing conditions meet the standard for homestay accommodation.
The standard, released in late March, requires "Olympic Family Hotels" to have special bedrooms for foreign guests, washing, bathing and cooking equipment. At least one person in the family should be able to communicate with the guests in a foreign language.
About 1,000 such homestays will be selected. Applications will end by April 30.
The charge for each room is initially set to be between 400 yuan and 600 yuan (57 to 85 U.S. dollars), far lower than most hotels.
The hotels in Beijing can meet the accommodation demand of visitors. The home accommodation is intended to let foreign visitors experience the life of Beijingers and have friendly exchanges with them, Xiong said.
The China Travel Service Head Office and the China International Travel Service Head Office (CITS) will undertake to organize homestay accommodation guests.
Zhao Xin, CITS's Olympic service center's director, said the two travel agencies will organize homestay guests to go sight-seeing and watch at least one Olympic match. But the costs are still being calculated.
The "Olympic Family Hotels" run from August 1 to September 31.
In Yayuncun in Chaoyang District, a pilot place for the program, 41 homes have been selected from 60 as homestay accommodation candidates.
Han Rubing, a college English teacher who lives in Yayuncun, said she would do some fitments in her two-bedroom home if it is selected to be an "Olympic Family Hotel".
"If we are lucky enough to play host to foreign guests, we will do our best to make them feel satisfactory," said Han.
(Xinhua News Agency April 11, 2008)