Beidaihe meeting

Economic tide hits Beidaihe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 August, 1998, 12:00am

The economic slump has even hit the seaside resort of Beidaihe, where China's leadership is gathering for its annual meeting.

Most of the hotels and guesthouses are empty this year, especially on week days.

'The number of tourists is down by two-thirds. In the past, Beidaihe would be packed with tourists at this time but now it is quiet,' a restaurant owner told the Beijing Youth Daily.

Bei Chen Tourist Villas manager Sun Wei said: 'Now all these ministries are being downsized, it means over 100 of the guesthouses which always used to be crowded are half empty.

'In the past a lot of government units and enterprises would rent a whole guesthouse and bring their staff and workers. One group after another.' Only the sanatorium reserved for the Foreign Ministry appears to be doing reasonable business, with a lot of retired cadres still taking their summer holidays there.

At the sanatorium of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, a Mrs Jia said rooms were full, but she did not expect it to last. 'It is hard to be optimistic because the number of employees is going to be halved,' she said.

The big state-owned enterprises, which were also important customers, were no longer holding so many meetings for their staff.

Those tourists who are in town have come of their own accord and are paying their own way.

'That means they are only spending the weekend here,' Mr Sun said.

An article in the Beijing Youth Daily also blamed the lack of visitors on overdevelopment on the coast.