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Travel firms offer tours to Games
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Shanghai local tour agencies have started promoting travel packages that include tickets to Olympic Games events in Beijing.

The packages will be priced between 2,580 yuan (US$368) and 6,000 yuan.

As hotel availability will be tight during the Games, some of the products will include accommodation in areas surrounding Beijing, such as Chengde in Hebei Province, with accommodation at a three to four-star hotel standard.

Most packages also include sightseeing at Beijing landmarks, including the Great Wall and the Palace Museum, agencies said.

Spring International Travel Service Co Ltd, one of the first agencies to promote Olympics-related products, said its offerings ranged from self-service travel to four-day package tours. People can also choose a one-day trip, including entry to one Games event and return soft-sleeper train travel.

Olympics events will include the semifinal of the 110 men's hurdle on August 20, the final of the 110 men's hurdle on August 21 and the final of women's artistic gymnastics all-round on August 15, said the agency.

Tourists can also go to Hong Kong for the equestrian events, with a four-day trip costing about 5,000 yuan. Agency officials said the products were aimed at giving tourists an experience of feeling the atmosphere of the Games.

Company official Zhang Lei said the agency has 3,000 Games tickets which were obtained through a "legal and effective channel."

"In principle the organizing committee of the Games didn't consider delivering tickets to tour agencies," said Zhang. "But now that we are holding tickets, we will take advantage of them to serve our tourists."

The Shanghai Airlines Holiday Tour Agency said it is still waiting to see how to develop the Olympic-related products.

Officials said hotels will cost five to 10 times higher than usual during the Games, so the products will be much more expensive than normal travel to Beijing.

(Shanghai Daily May 8, 2008)

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