The China Daily had an article today about the Tourism Bureau's announcement that the number of foreign tourists coming to Beijing in April and May dropped by more than 5% compared to last year. Here's the money quote:
Beijing saw a marked drop in the
number of overseas tourists in April, which fell by 5.3 percent
year-on-year, according to official statistics revealed on Tuesday. Yu Xiuqin, the bureau's spokeswoman
attributed the decrease partly to Beijing's tightened business visa
approvals on foreign visitors for international exhibitions and
conferences, because of safety concerns for the coming Olympic Games. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin
Gang said on May 6 that the tightened visa approval ahead of the Games
was in line with international practices, and came from the need to
guarantee security in the national capital in the run-up for the event.
Talk about stating the obvious. Even tourist visas, which China has been giving out like candy for the past dozen or so years are now difficult to get, and the list of documentation required to obtain them now reminds me of what it was like to get a tourist visa to come here in 1984. In fact, there seem to be numerous ways in which China is reverting to 1984 these days, but I'll save that for another post!
Let me get this straight. The biggest world event is being held here this summer, and they are making it hard for the world to come. I imagine a room
somewhere in the foreign ministry where the visa regulation working group sits. They
all have revolvers in each hand, and they are shooting away at their feet saying
"this should work out just fine."
China welcomes the world…..in 2009!