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China luxury hotels hit by downturn, swine flu: report

world Updated: Jun 29, 2009 11:56 IST

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Luxury hotels in Beijing have been forced to lay off staff and cut costs as the number of guests has plummeted due to the economic crisis and the swine flu outbreak, state media said on Monday.

The average occupancy rate at the capital’s star-rated hotels was 44.5 per cent during the first quarter of the year, down from 54.6 per cent in the same period a year ago, the China Daily said, citing official figures.

Some hotels even saw the level slump to just three per cent, the paper said, citing anecdotal evidence.

“It’s slash and burn,” said an expat chef at one five-star hotel in Beijing, who was recently asked to resign or face being sacked.

“During the Olympics, rooms were going for 6,000 to 7000 yuan (875 dollars to 1,020 dollars) a night. Now they are going for 550 yuan,” said the chef.

The paper quoted a manager at the Holiday Inn Lido Beijing as saying the hotel had received “a double blow.”

Earlier in the year, businesspeople stopped coming due to the economic downturn, and in May the first case of swine flu or A(H1N1) was detected in Beijing, causing the number of tourists to fall.