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July 13, 2010

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Expo bonanza for bath houses

SOME World Expo visitors have taken to staying in bath houses because of the lack of affordable hotels. Bath houses, especially those around the Expo site, are especially busy at the moment.

They usually provide basic facilities similar to hotel rooms, but charge about half or even less than that of budget hotels.

The Shanghai Chuanbin Bath House, in Chuansha Town in the Pudong New Area, said all their rooms were booked for this week. Guests coming next week would have to share rooms.

"The business was rather good after the Expo began," said Cai, a manager. "Most of our guests stay for a short period, lasting one to two nights."

A room costs 200 yuan (US$29) a night, while a bed in a shared room is 100 yuan.

Another bath house, Dalangtaosha, said that it had a tour group of 80 people after the Expo began.

Tourists said that although they may have to share rooms with strangers, staying for one or two nights was acceptable.

Ye Ling, a tourist from Jiangsu Province, said the only problem with sharing was not being able to feel at ease with strangers in the same room.

Ye said he tried his best but had failed to find a hotel at the right price in the right area, and he eventually made do with a bath house.

According to the Shanghai Tourism Administration, the city has nearly 600 bath houses, with about 27,600 beds, that are able to provide accommodation. Officials said bath houses were supplementary resources for the city to deal with the accommodation peak during the Expo.

Public hygiene authorities inspected all the bath houses before the Expo began to ensure sanitary conditions.

Earlier, officials said that more than 90 percent of local hotel rooms had been booked since May. Prices were about 20 to 30 percent higher than the same period last year.


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