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Hotels fight for business as Canton Fair draws near
Latest Updated by 2006-04-13 14:39:05
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The Chinese Export Commodities Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, has traditionally been a gold mine for Guangzhou's hoteliers, with tens of thousands of exhibitors and visitors from around the world attending the fair.

However, this is changing with more new hotels entering the fray, and some hotels in Guangzhou's suburbs, or nearby cities, are also competing for fairgoers.

The 99th Canton Fair will kick off Saturday, but the Southern Metropolis Daily said many hotels in Guangzhou still have many rooms vacant, while business is booming in Zengcheng, Dongguan, Shunde and other adjacent areas.

Many five-star hotels in suburban Guangzhou are offering their clients free shuttle services to the fair venues in addition to competitive room rates, the Daily said. Such hotels are attracting an increasing number of foreign visitors.

An hotel insider who declined to be named said hotels in Dongguan, Conghua and other areas have only raised their rates by 10 percent for the Canton Fair, as opposed to some hotels in downtown Guangzhou, which have doubled their room charges.

The insider was quoted by the Daily as saying a standard double room in a five-star hotel in Conghua costs only 500 yuan (US$62) a night, while the same room in the China Hotel in downtown Guangzhou costs up to 2,250 yuan. It takes approximately one hour from the Conghua hotel to the fair center.

Although the Guangzhou government intervened to cap hotel rates during the Canton Fair a couple of years ago, complaints about exceptionally high rates and a room shortage have been reported during each fair. And this has prompted many hoteliers in adjacent areas to join the fierce competition for customers by lowering rates and providing free transport to the fair.

According to one of Guangzhou's largest travel agencies, more than 1,000 rooms in downtown hotels are still vacant, charging between 950 and 2,250 yuan, the Daily said. The agency manager said the number of international visitors attending this fair was estimated to be slightly lower than last year for some reasons. One reason is that many international buyers are waiting for the October fair, which is the 100th anniversary of the Canton Fair, according to the manager.

However, official figures show that the number of foreign buyers is estimated to be the same as at last fair, while about 300,000 domestic exhibitors will attend the fair.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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