Preparations for the Beijing Olympics are well on schedule, a central government official said yesterday, exactly two years from the opening of the Games on August 8, 2008. 'We have achieved, as scheduled, the goals set for each stage, laying a solid foundation for the successful staging of high-level Olympic Games with distinguishing features,' said Wang Wei , secretary-general of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Bocog). Mr Wang said construction of all 12 new competition venues was under way, and other infrastructure projects and facilities were moving ahead as planned. 'All competition venues and Olympic-related facilities will be completed by the end of next year to ensure the smooth operation of the test events and to meet the needs of the Olympic Games,' Mr Wang said. He said steps were being taken to prevent the pirating of Olympics merchandise. 'Judging from the current situation, the outlook for Beijing Olympics marketing is fairly rosy,' he said. 'Revenue from the Games is expected to exceed the target set during the bidding process.' Activities to celebrate the Olympics were held around the mainland yesterday. About 1 million people gathered to do their morning exercises together in parks around Beijing to celebrate the day. Special activities were held in the five other mainland cities that will host Olympic events, the first set of commemorative stamps were issued, and TV stations aired special programmes highlighting the Games. Mr Wang said the route for the Olympic torch relay would pass through all 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and for the first time in history it would be carried to the top of Mount Everest. However, when asked if Taiwan had agreed to the torch passing through the island, Bocog vice-president Jiang Xiaoyu said the plan had yet to be approved. Mr Wang said Beijing's environment had also improved and 'blue sky' days accounted for 64.1 per cent of the days last year, up 15.7 per cent from 2000. 'China is on a fast track of development toward modernisation and the Olympic Games will act as a catalyst,' he said. An estimated 500,000 foreign visitors are expected to visit Beijing for the Games.