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June 14, 2010

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Visitors should book hotels out of town

VISITORS to Shanghai should look at hotels away from the city center for the time being if they don't want to spend lots of time looking for downtown accommodation and possibly not find anything, the Shanghai Tourism Administration said yesterday.

Downtown hotels have become increasingly busy since the World Expo started on May 1, and now the room occupancy and booking rates have soared to near 90 percent, said administration director Dao Shuming.

To avoid congestion, tourists are advised to choose hotels in the outskirts or neighboring provinces with convenient transport to Shanghai.

Hotels in Shanghai's neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces are cheaper, Dao said. For example, Dao said, the price of three or four-star hotels in Suzhou, Jiangsu, is about 70-80 yuan (US$10-12) a night less than that of similar hotels in Shanghai, and five-star hotels will be about 200 yuan less.

Shanghai hotel room prices are about 20 to 30 percent higher than usual, he said.

The lack of downtown hotel rooms was also caused by some tour groups extending their Expo stays and refusing to check out on time.

"Hotels have complained that tourists refuse to move, while subsequent guests who had booked the rooms are waiting to check in," Dao said. "We will provide negotiation if tourists face such situations."

Meanwhile, the administration will report illegal hotel booking agencies to public security authorities. Such agencies book rooms of small hotels and sell them to tourists at double the price.

"We hope people could report to us if they find such black agencies," Dao said.


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