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Questions about Beijing Olympic Games Answered

The whole world is holding its breath for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Recently. China Daily Overseas Edition has received an increasing number of letters from readers asking how to go about traveling to China to see the Olympic Games. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) has pro­vided information on tickets, transportation and lodgings concerning the Beijing Olympic Games to help those who wish to attend the games plan their trip.

Tickets

According to relevant regulations, any person who has met both the residency and ID requirements as de­scribed below is eligible to order Olympic tickets through the official BOCOG website, http://www.beijing2008.cn/ tickets, and make ticket reservations for the Beijing Olym­pic Games in three different ways.

The requirement on residence is as follows: You must have an address in the territory of the People's Republic of China (other than Hong Kong and Macao special adminis­trative regions and Taiwan Province). This residence could be owned, rented or lent, or gained through any le­gal ways and should be a valid address.

ID requirement: Citizens of Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions must possess a valid pass­port or a Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao residents with valid endorsement; Citizens of Tai- wan Province must possess a valid travel document or a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan residents with valid endorsement; Foreign citizens must possess a valid pass­port with a Chinese visa valid for at least 6 months.

Overseas Chinese and citizens of other nationalities can contact the regional or national Olympic committee or au­thorized agencies to purchase tickets. The official website of the Olympic committee in every country and region can be located in this website: http://www.olympic.org/uk/ organisation/noc/index_uk.asp. A special ticket website has been opened in Macao; Hong Kong Olympic Commit­tee and China Travel Service"Hong Kong" Limited will accept applications for tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies and any sports events from June 5. Hong Kong citizens can get application forms from the salesroom or website (http://www.sport.gov.mo/web/cn/event/ ticketsales08/index.php) of China Travel Service "Hong Kong" Limited. In addition, "CoSport" is the official agency to sell Olympic tickets in Australia, Austria, Canada, the Slovak Republic and the United States. Their official website is http://www.cosport.com. If you have any questions, please refer to the office of Co Sports in your country of residence.

If there are any surplus tickets during the Olympic Games, the public can purchase these at the venues. No re­turns or exchanges can be made after the tickets are sold, but tickets can however be transferred through legal channels. The ticket transfer of the opening and closing ceremonies should be granted by BOCOG following re­quired procedures. The ticket center is open for ticket transfers from August 7, up to 3 days before the ceremony begins.

Guides for spectators

There are 28 competitions, 38 programs and an overall 302 events during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, most of which will be held in Beijing. Events held in the six other cities, are Equestrian in Hong Kong, Sailing in Qingdao, Football in Shanghai, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao and Shenyang.

What is worth mentioning is that the women's football event will be held in Tianjin on August 6, 2008, with the final match being held in the Beijing Workers' Stadium on August 21. The men's football event will be held in Shang­hai on August 7, 2008, with the final match being held in the Beijing National Stadium, on August 23. In total, the five cities of Beijing, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenyang will host 58 matches.

One of the games' biggest attractions will be the finals of the 110 men's hurdles, which is scheduled between 21: 40-21:50 on August 21, 2008, when all eyes will be on China's hurdle record holder Liu Xiang at the Beijing Na­tional Stadium.

Given the current ticket sales, the popularity of basket­ball and football are next only to the opening ceremony. There is also big demand for diving, gymnastics, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, the 100m men's and 100m women's sprints, swimming and the closing ceremony. Beach volleyball, popular with past games, has a low reservation rate of only 3 percent. What' s more, road cycling competitions and the marathon will be held in pub­lic instead of special venues. Therefore, tickets are not necessary. Spectators can line the streets to watch them.

Transportation and Accommodation

Whether you are coming to watch the Olympic Games or wish to travel in China, you will need to apply for a tour­ist visa. Visa applications may be submitted by the appli­cants themselves or handled by their consignees. However, there's an exception in situations when the applicants must be present according to relevant regulations or if visa offic­ers demand personal interviews.

Buses, subways, city light rail and taxis are all avail­able in Beijing. A taxi is called Da Di in Beijing. The cheapest price for a taxi ride is 10 yuan for 3 kms, after which the rate is 2 yuan/km. Please don't forget to keep your receipt, as in case you leave any articles in the taxi, the receipt has information with which to find the taxi driver. For your convenience a detailed map of the other seven Olympic cities has been uploaded on this website: http://www.beijing2008.cn/emap.

Accommodation in Beijing is probably among your biggest concerns during your Olympics journey. There are international standard star-class hotels, local guesthouses in residential alleys, as well as some clean and economical apartments, hostels and folk cultural villages that are popu­lar too. Multiple choices are provided to meet your various demands. "Visit Beijing" (http://www.visitbeijing.com.cn/ zwzn) has promoted different sections for tourists, includ­ing accommodation, cuisine, shopping and sightseeing in Beijing.

Many foreigners have begun to prepare in advance as the Olympic Games approaches. It is reported that reservations in four-star and above hotels are at a premium. Citizens living around the games venues are considering renting out their homes. Those who have friends or relatives in the Olympic cities are doing everything they can to see the Olympic Games. What's more, real estate agencies which want to take advantage of this opportunity also provide short-period rent services one month before the Olympic Games.

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