Shanghai shapes up to make stay better for visitor

IT IS hard to book hotels in Shanghai, but it is going to get worse before it gets better. In these circumstances, travellers need to work within the system.

First is the price factor. Full prices have already increased twice this year at most leading hotels, although in some cases this takes Shanghai to a price level similar to other major cities in Asia.

To reduce the effect of these higher prices, travellers should register with the hotel or hotel group to get access to corporate rates, and check through their travel agency to see if there are any special rates.

Taking the Portman Shangri-La as an example, to get corporate room rate you or your company needs to produce 50 room-nights a year and you qualify for a 25 per cent discount. If you produce 100 room-nights the discount is 30 per cent.

But even these margins are being squeezed; it was a 40 per cent discount, then reduced to 35 per cent and now 30 per cent.

Another tip is to book in advance if possible; already, for instance, it is hard to get rooms in February and March next year because of a trade fair.


Fortunately, the city's hotels are also improving, particularly for the business traveller.

At the Shangri-La, the business centre and international communications are managed by Bell South, in an arrangement with owners of the complex, not Shangri-La.

But the hotel management is working to ensure these work efficiently and provide for the business traveller.

Also, the hotel's present car fleet of three Mercedes-Benzes and two Toyota Crowns is inadequate for demand from the greater share of business guests. As a result, four more Toyotas are due to be added at the end of this year, and a further two at the start of 1994.


Contact Shangri-La reservations on 810-7782, or direct at the hotel on (86-21) 279-8888, or fax 279-8999.

THE American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong calculates Hong Kong will lose 266,000 visitors from Taiwan in 1994 and US$310 million (about HK$2.4 billion) in revenue from visitors if direct Taiwan-China flights start this year.


AmCham has not calculated how much would be gained by traffic generated in China for Taiwan.

OFFICIAL airline schedules list a new flight out of Shenzhen to Hohhot on Mondays and Fridays on Air China.

But the confusion over schedules in China continues. For flights to Singapore from Shenzhen, for instance, the ABC World Airways Guide lists only Air China, operating on Thursdays and Sundays. Yet its rival, OAG, lists only China Southern Airlines on theroute, operating on Sundays.


The planned merger of the two companies that produce the ABC and OAG flight guides will probably produce the correct answer - both Chinese airlines are operating passenger flights on the route. And Singapore Airlines has now started an all-cargo flight.

THE China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) - whose activities include promoting China - says it will not move to match its control of all areas of the travel industry in China after 1997.

The CNTA also controls: licensing of travel agencies which includes setting minimum requirements, categories and scope of operation; grading of hotels into star categories; and other aspects such as tour guide licensing.


However, the provinces in China retain much control over the implementation of CNTA regulations, which has led to a variance of standards.

HYATT'S two hotels in China have released packages for winter.

In Tianjin, the cost is US$64 per person sharing (so US$128 per couple, US$118 single), including one-way airport/hotel transfer, buffet breakfast, free laundry for three pieces and some other small extras. The package is valid from December 1 to March 14.

In Xian, where business is not good during the winter (and it has not been particularly good in the summer either), the cost of the Hyatt package is US$27 per night per person sharing (so $54 per couple) but you must stay at least two nights. It includesbreakfast, and some other small extras. The package is valid from November 15 to March 15.

Contact Hyatt reservations on 739-1234, or direct at the hotels, phone (86-22) 318888, or fax (86-22) 310021 in Tianjin, phone (86-29) 712020, or fax 986-29) 716799 in Xian.

ALTHOUGH there are no indications yet on how the count was taken, the CNTA says there were 330 million domestic travellers in 1992.

By comparison, a survey-backed total of those in the US travelling at least 160 kilometres from their home was one billion in 1992.

The CNTA says the 330 million spent 25 billion yen. But this equates to only 76 yen per trip, which indicates the figure might be how much was spent just on transport.

Information compiled by Travel Database, GPO Box 12761, Hong Kong. Fax 507-4620