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April 30, 2010

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Get a room! Host families open up

Today's the day when host families for the Shanhgai World Expo visitors will start receiving guests.

Tourists can book a room two weeks ahead of time, through a designated travel agency, local tourism authorities said yesterday.

The standard charge will be the same as an economy chain hotel's: no higher than 200 yuan (US$29.30) a night. The income will cover the families' costs, said the Shanghai Tourism Administration.

In all, 187 families downtown and 46 families in the suburbs are on the host family list. One third of the downtown families and all the suburban families will provide accommodations.

To keep things safe for both tourists and families, officials said, the families won't accept individual bookings. Travel agencies will organize individual tourists into groups, said the administration.

Hotels will provide services such as sheet changes and cleaning for the host families. And restaurants will provide breakfast.

"Some old western-style houses in Shanghai will also participate in the host-family project," said Zhu Guojian, an official with the bureau.

"For example, old houses in the Tianping Community in Xuhui District will give guests great feelings of Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s."

Families that aren't offering room and board will guide tourists to experience typical Shanghai lane and community culture.

The administration published standards for host families late last year. Family members took lessons in language and etiquette. The project was tried in Linfen Community in Zhabei District last year.

The tour agencies authorized to book rooms for host families:

Shanghai Xinglu International Travel Service Co. Ltd
Tel: 5237-2489

Shanghai Jinjiang International Travel Service Co. Ltd
Tel: 5739-8888 ext 80039

Shanghai Airlines International Travel Service Co. Ltd
Tel: 6241-8000

Shanghai China International Travel Service Co. Ltd
Tel: 6299-5539 6299-5189

Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center
Tel: 6481-1251

Shanghai Ever Bright Town Travel Service Co, Ltd
Tel: 13472607103

Shanghai Ctrip International Travel Service Co. Ltd
Tel: 3406-4880 ext 12868

Shanghai CYTS Tours
Tel: 6474-7550


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