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November 2, 2010

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Expo host families to shut doors for a while

THE project of Expo host families was wound up yesterday with the end of the 2010 World Expo, but the families are likely to welcome visitors again during holidays or when big events are held in the city.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration said at present family-run hotels are not "normalized" in the city because of the absence of laws governing them.

The present regulations, which were issued late last year, say that families can only be used as a supplement to local hotels, when hotel capacity can't cope with high visitor numbers.

Officials said there are many issues to be resolved before home-stay hotels become a fixture in the city, such as business licenses, tax payments and security affairs.

Neighborhood communities and families, however, were very willing to go on serving tourists, as the Expo host family project proved popular with visitors, and foreign visitors in particular.

Xuhui District said more than 540 tourists stayed with families in the district during the Expo - around 20 percent of them were overseas visitors.

"Tourists love staying in residents' homes, as they can communicate with the people here face to face," said Xu Lingzhi, an official with the administration's Xuhui District branch.

The project also left the family with good memories. "We have received several guests from Singapore during the Expo," said 63-year-old Zhang Pengshou. "Although we felt a bit tired during their four-day stay, we'd still like to receive guests again."


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