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Olympic Common Domain to open free to visitors
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By Jessica Zhang

Following its temporary closure, the Olympic Common Domain (OCD) is now expected to re-open to visitors free of charge in four days. Tourists can visit the Olympic Green without the need for tickets, in the same way as visiting sites like Tian'anmen Square. But tickets will still be needed when visiting Olympic venues such as Bird's Nest (National Stadium), Water Cube (National Aquatics Center) and the National Indoor Stadium. According to Beijing Morning Post, the prices have not yet been fixed.

The Bird's Nest [File photo]

Wang Chun, General-Secretary of the Public Management Committee of the OCD, said that after the Olympic and Paralympic Games the OCD would refurbish Olympics-related facilities as have done other hosting cities, meaning that temporary elements of the Olympic Green buildings will be removed. However, the National Day "golden week" holiday arrived just after the Games, so the refurbishment work had to be delayed until after the holiday. Facilities to be removed include security-checking infrastructure, ice chests, freezers, etc. Wang estimated that this preliminary phase will take about four days - if the facilities can be moved out smoothly, Olympic Green will re-open to tourists after these four days.

Water Cube [File photo]

The re-opening of the OCD will allow access free of charge, Wang told reporters. "Tourists can visit the Olympic Green without a ticket, just like visiting Tian'anmen Square. The process will be similar – a simple security check is involved, with the staff checking suspicious bags, boxes and so on."

For tourist-attractive Olympic venues like Bird's Nest, Water Cube and the National Indoor Stadium, Wang used the same example: "Visitors to these venues will require tickets, just like visiting the Imperial Palace and the historical museums around Tian'anmen Square, but the prices have not yet been fixed." Asked whether temporary measures to limit visitor numbers would be implemented for the re-opening, Wang did not give a specific answer.

The OCD was the city's most popular tourist attraction during the National Day "golden week" holiday, with total visitor numbers of more than 2.4 million over the seven days. Post-Olympic tourism is growing quickly - visiting Olympic venues has become the most important element of the tour itinerary for foreign tourist groups arriving in Beijing. The re-opening of the OCD is scheduled to meet this expanding tourist demand.

Although the OCD is temporarily closed, Bird's Nest is still open every day, but only to tour groups, not personal visits, said sources from the National Stadium Company yesterday. The price for visiting groups is 50 yuan per person, the same as for National Day. For added convenience, a ticket-sales network infrastructure is being built, and the public will be informed through the Media when it is in place. Reporters also learned that visiting groups can call 84986888 and transfer to the operations department for bookings.

"Water Cube Dream" is being performed every evening at 19:30.[File photo]

Despite the OCD refurbishment, Water Cube is still the site of lively activity. Yesterday, reporters were informed by the National Aquatics Center that Waterscape Symphonic Concerts are being performed every evening at 19:30. The events, titled the "Water Cube Dream" began on September 28 and are scheduled to continue until next year's Spring Festival. Tickets will be on sale to the public from Oct. 7 to Oct. 31, both online and on the spot through ticket booths. Prices are set at 200 yuan, 400 yuan, 600 yuan and 800 yuan.

Beijing Subway line 8 (Olympic Line) also suspended operation as a result of the Olympic Park's temporarily closure yesterday. For the time being the date of its re-opening is yet to be confirmed, said a reporter from Beijing Morning Post.

(China.org.cn October 7, 2008)

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