China tourism authorities have been working hard with a view to reaping benefits from the Beijing Olympics while ensuring the safety of every tourist, officials said in Beijing on Tuesday.
Past experience indicated tourism received the most direct, marked and sustained benefits from hosting an Olympics; China had been taking many measures in the pre-Games years to promote its tourism image and lure more visitors, said Du Jiang, China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) deputy director.
Six measures, such as enhancing supervision on service quality, improving management of tourism market, standardizing services at scenic spots and expanding service facilities, among others, had been taken by tourism authorities across the country, he said at a press conference.
The number of star-rated hotels in Beijing had soared from 506 in 2001 to 806 through 2007, with about 130,000 rooms and more than 250,000 beds.
During the Games, Du said CNTA would launch 32 well-designed deluxe Olympic tourism routes. These focused on scenic places in Beijing and were also designed to bring tourists to places such as the Three Gorges, Xi'an and Guilin.
Beijing was expecting the Games to bring 400,000 to 500,000 overseas tourists to the city. In total, the country expected to receive an estimated 6 million to 7 million international VIPs, athletes, media people and tourists nationwide during the Olympic period, Du said.
Since the capital had committed to hosting a safe Olympics, China's tourism administrations at all levels had adopted active measures to guarantee the safety of tourists during the Games, he said.
The tourism administrations in Beijing and five mainland co-host cities would put their staff on 24-hour rotation and deal with emergencies in tourism services.
"A quick complaints handling system was established to solve problems. ... Beijing and the co-host cities will publish emergency complaint phone numbers and open tourist service hotlines," Du said.
Hotels, travel agencies and authorities of every scenic spots were asked to keep on high alert to guard against any accident that threatened tourist safety, he added.
Liu Xiaojun, another CNTA official, said the administration had taken some necessary security measures in accordance with the requirements from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) in face of threats posed by some domestic and overseas terrorists.
"These measures fall in line with the international security standards. We will, in accordance with BOCOG's requirements and international tourism service standards, provide the best services to domestic and overseas tourists."
(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2008)