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Beijing Sees Record Number of Overseas Tourists


Beijing attracted a record 1.2 million overseas tourists from January to April this year, a 12.5 percent increase from the same period last year, showing signs of a booming tourism industry ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games. According to data released by the Beijing Municipal Statistics Bureau, the 2008 Olympics host city received an influx of 407,000 foreign tourists in April alone, up 14.6 percent from April last year. Tourists from Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States -- the capital's three major sources of tourists -- accounted for 40.9 percent of the total number of foreign tourists in April, the bureau announced. Beijing also saw a steady increase of tourists from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, receiving 173,000 tourists over the first four months of this year, an 8 percent rise over the same period in 2006. Tourism in Beijing has been booming with the approach of the 2008 Olympic Games, which is scheduled to begin on August 8 next year. Beijing expects to receive 550,000 foreign tourists during the Olympics, and an estimated two million domestic tourists are also expected to visit the capital city. In preparation for the Olympics, Beijing has been making attempts to improve its image by introducing legislation and local enforcement officers to clamp down on spitting, queue-jumping, littering and foul language in the city. During the Labor Day holidays, 56 people were fined for spitting by local enforcement officers. A recent regulation has outlawed spitting on the city's streets. People failing to comply with the new law can be fined up to 50 yuan (US$6.5) if they are caught by enforcement officers.

(Source:Xinhua News Agency, 2007-05-18)