Taking the easy way out

MANY Hongkong businessmen visit the Guangzhou Trade Fair simply to meet with those visiting from other parts of China. Serious business is done on other occasions.

If that is the case, a day visit to the fair would probably be long enough.

The first train from Hongkong arrives in Guangzhou about 11 am and the last one leaves Guangzhou at 6.30 pm - enough time for brief courtesy calls.

Although it is a long and somewhat rushed day, businessmen can avoid the hassle of booking hotel rooms or fighting for a place at busy and overpriced restaurants.

The traffic in the city is extra busy at this time and people who do not have to undertake long negotiations usually prefer to steer clear of a night in Guangzhou.

For those who have to stay overnight, there is a fairly wide selection of hotels, for which an early booking is essential, particularly as the fair now lasts only for 10 days.

The easiest way to avoid the heavy traffic is to stay at either the Garden Hotel, part of the Lee Gardens chain of hotels, or the China Hotel, a member of the New World Hotels International Group.

Both are opposite the Foreign Trade Exhibition Centre and are fully equipped with business and recreation facilities as well as the other usual facilities expected of a five-star hotel.

Further afield is the Guangzhou Hotel, the Ocean Hotel or Holiday Inn City Centre.

The Holiday Inn has only 431 guest rooms but offers an executive floor for foreign travellers, a business centre and a health club.

Expect a hefty bill. With a captive market, and only 10 days in which to take advantage of it, hotels boost their room rates.

In addition, as of March 1, all guests will be contributing to the construction of the Guangzhou Metro with a five per cent surcharge.

Visitors looking for accommodation at next year's fair will find another Holiday Inn which is due to open early in 1994.

The three-star hotel will be one of several new buildings due to be opened in China by Stanford Hotels International.