Tough Visa Rules Threaten to Slash Olympic Tourism

Visitors vanish as China boosts security
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 24, 2008 6:31 AM CDT
Liu Xiang of China clears a hurdle in the Good Luck Beijing 2008 China Athletics Open at the National Stadium, Saturday, May 24, 2008, in Beijing. The competition is a test event for the Olympics.    (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – Heightened visa restrictions in China have shrunk tourism ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the New York Times reports. Numbers of foreign visitors to Beijing fell 14% last month when government officials tightened the rules to bolster security.

“Business is so bleak,” said one hotel worker. “Our occupancy rate has dropped by 40%." Beijing had expected the Olympics to bring in $4.5 billion, but now that’s looking like wishful thinking, economists say.