Arts, Culture & Media

Beijing hotels not full

A week before the Olympics, this large hotel lobby was empty except for the hotel staff. All summer business has been down, but now the hotel is at full occupancy. A room here costs three times more than it did last summer. This official says price gouging by Chinese hotels has dampened enthusiasm to come here for the Olympics, and now the prices are coming down fast at some hotels. This hotel manager says some hotels are full, and others are at only at 40 or 50% occupancy, mainly the newer hotels. Air rates are still double or triple what they normally are in August and there's no guarantee you'll be able to get a visa, because visa rules have been tightened by China. Renewing visas has been a nightmare says one tourist. Even long time business travelers to China are having troubles with visas, and this businessman says the message from Chinese authorities is that business takes a backseat to the Olympics. He says the timing couldn't be worse, due to the increase concern from consumers over products made in China, and summer is when most inspections take place.

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