Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beijing tourist spots strengthen security

All tourist attractions in Beijing are required to beef up security checks in the wake of Saturday's attack on two American tourists and a Chinese tour guide at the city's Drum Tower, a senior tourism official said yesterday.

Starting from Sunday, the Summer Palace became the first to check suspicious people and baggage with hand-held scanners.

The security measures are necessary in order to guarantee tourists' safety during the Olympic Games, said Wang Zhifa, deputy director of the National Tourism Administration.

"In addition, should become part of a regular procedure that all scenic spots should strengthen after the Games," he said.

On Saturday, two Americans, Todd and Barbara Bachman, relatives of a US Olympic volleyball coach, and their Chinese tour guide were stabbed by Tang Yongming from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Tang later committed suicide by jumping from the second story of the Drum Tower. The American man died from the attack.

The incident has drawn the attention of top State leaders. The Beijing municipal government has arranged for the relatives of the American man to come to Beijing, and promised the best facilities and experts to treat the two injured women, who are now in a stable condition, Wang said.

He said that the incident "alerted relevant departments to strengthen security efforts", thus China's tourist environment could become safer as a result.

Though the number of inbound arrivals in August is not available, he said that judging from the number for the first 10 days of August, total inbound arrivals in the month would "definitely exceed" July's figures.

So far, Beijing and the five Olympic co-host cities have received 175 inbound tourist groups, totaling 6,350 people by Monday, he said.

Wang added that the occupancy rate of Beijing's hotel rooms reached 81.2 percent on Sunday, "a rather good one but not the peak".

The price of standard rooms in hotels that signed contracts with BOCOG in Beijing has also soared to 2,946 yuan , the highest point in the recent period, he said.

According to the experiences of previous Olympic host cities, China expects a larger number of tourists to come after the Games, and "we are ready", he said.

Source: China Daily

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