Beijing tourism officials included Atlanta last week in its first promotional tour on behalf of the summer Olympic Games that it will host in 2008. The officials launched the promotion in New York and then visited Atlanta before going to Los Angeles to participate in a Chinese New Year parade.

Nick Qin, president of the Norcross-based China Professional Tours Inc., told GlobalAtlanta that the officials were persuaded to include Atlanta in their first promotional tour for the 2008 Games since it was the site for the 1996 Games.

China Professional Tours hosted a dinner at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast Hotel in Norcross Feb. 21 for the officials along with the China National Tourist Office in New York and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism.

Some 200 attendees at the dinner were briefed on China’s emergence as a major tourist destination and on preparations being undertaken for the Games.

“We want to learn from Atlanta what we can about hosting the Games,” Wang Yunfeng, deputy secretary-general, of the Beijing Municipal People’s Government, said in his remarks.

Other speakers included Zhu Shanzhong, director of the China National Tourist Office in New York; Ricardo Hubler, director of international trade development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Yu Debin, deputy director, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism and Mr. Qin.

With less than 530 days remaining before the Games, construction “is in good progress,” Mr. Yu said, for the 37 venues from competition and 63 training venues that are being prepared.

While the majority of events will be held in Beijing, the cities of Qingdao, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao also are involved. Sailing events are to be held in Qingdao while the other cities are to host the soccer matches. The equestrian events are to be held in Hong Kong.

Of the 9 million tickets that will be distributed, 7 million are still available with prices ranging from $4 to $130 for preliminary events and $20 to $400 for the finals. The cost of attending the opening ceremonies range from $25 to $650 and $20 to $400 for the closing ceremonies.

Mr. Yu said that Beijing is preparing for 500,000 to 550,000 foreign visitors. The city already has 700 star-rated hotels and 80 more are under construction. The average cost for a room per day in a five star hotel is $429 and $193 for a three star hotel.

Some 70,000 volunteers are expected to help with a wide variety of activities at the Games, much as they did in Atlanta.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
China Professional Tours: Nick Qin at (770) 849-0300.

China and the 2008 Games