[photopress:olympics_1_1_2.jpg,full,alignright]China has been restricting foreign visitors from entering the country in the hope of guarding against terrorist threats or unruly visitors who might plot to disrupt the Games, which begin August 8.
The government appears to be approving fewer tourist visas. Business executives say they face new bureaucratic hurdles to visiting the city. And hotels are being asked to give the government detailed information about foreign guests.
The high published rates for Beijing hotels during the summer and difficulty getting Olympic tickets have also dampened expectations, even though many five-star rated hotels say they are fully booked during the Olympics.
[photopress:olympics__2_1.jpg,full,alignleft]For a wide range of hotels, many economists are beginning to doubt whether Beijing will get the kind of windfall it was hoping for during the Games, which analysts had once forecast would bring 500,000 foreign visitors and an extra $4.5 billion in revenue to the city this summer.
Instead, in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, Beijing hotels are struggling to find guests; some large tourist agencies have closed for the summer; people traveling here for seminars and conferences are canceling.
Beijing appears less concerned about being the host of a global party, experts say, and more concerned with making sure no one spoils it.
Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a May news conference said, ‘In order to secure a safe environment in Beijing, we will carry the new visa policy for a certain time. This new visa policy is just temporary, not a permanent one.’
Source: International Herald Tribune
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