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Trial program to work out rules for home-stay guests

2009. 17 August

by Lu Feiran
( Although Shanghai is building new hotels for the 2010 World Expo, limited bed supplies will still be a big problem for the organizers. A way of resolving the situation is "home-stay" hotels, Shanghai tourism authorities said.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration said that everyday during the peak season of Expo the hotel bed shortage will reach about 100,000 and rise to 380,000 at peak times.
Despite the "home-stay hotels," many visitors are also expected to stay in hotels in neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

The Linfen community in Zhabei District will be a pilot center of the "home-stay hotel" project and its experience is expected to be used throughout the city. Up to last week, the community had signed up 63 families to host Expo visitors and the number was still increasing.

"The residents showed great interest in the project, although we told them not every family signing up will be selected," said Jiang Wenlei, an official with the community.

Too vague

What the community is concerned about achieving is a standard. At present, the city's home-stay regulation is too vague to be adopted, said Zheng Kouhua, another official with the community. "The present standard has no differentiation between that for hotels and, apparently, it's not suitable for us," Zheng said. "So we have to try to work it out ourselves."

The community will assess the necessary requirements by evaluating the experience of the 63 families according to its own desired standards. Generally all the families should provide a bedroom of no smaller than 13 square meters, with a separate bathroom. The room is also expected to be equipped with telephone, TV set and washing machine, if possible.

The family members are expected to acquire simple English speaking skills before the Expo. And an interpreter will help them communicate with guests if necessary.

The families are also expected to undertake welcome procedures for guests such as introducing traditional Chinese culture to foreigners.

Security will be another big problem, especially food safety. Community officials are still hesitating about whether the guests will have dinner with the families or at a designated restaurant.

"If they eat with the family, we'll make regulations on food resources, cooking procedures and dishware sterilizing," said Zheng. "But the cost may be higher than our expectations."

The community spokesmen said they may decide to receive group tour guests rather than individual visitors. A group is expected to stay in one residential building which will be convenient for group members and tour guides.

Meanwhile, some more neighborhoods in other districts are preparing to highlight their community culture to foreign visitors. Residents will teach guests how to cook authentic Shanghai snacks, such as dumpling soup, and will play traditional and ancient Chinese games with them.

Administration officials said the experience from the Beijing Olympic Games inspired them to adopt the "home-stay" idea. Last year, nearly 600 Beijing families hosted guests during the Games, providing more than 720 rooms. The guests not only enjoyed the experience of typical daily Beijing life during the stay but also got to know about the "lane culture."

Q: Which Expo is regarded as a watershed in American History?

A:Expo 1893 Chicago is traditionally regarded as a watershed in American history, being held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of America. Despite a prevailing economic crisis, the Expo managed to attract 27.5 million visitors when the whole US population was then only 66.97 million.

The grand event boasted Midway Plaisance, the first amusement park set up at a World Expo, the Ferris wheel, also a first in the world, and the eye-catching Kodak Camera.The Expo symbolized the US' emergence as a world power to compete with European nations in terms of science, technology and economy.

Q: Which Expo in the 20th century had the biggest influence on China?

A:Expo 1915 Panama-Pacific in San Francisco.

After the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), public pressure was strong to revitalize China's industry. The American government acknowledged Yuan Shikai's Beijing government on May 2, 1913, the first among the imperial powers to accept "the Republic of China." The next year it formally invited the Chinese government to participate in Expo 1915 Panama-Pacific, which was an important opportunity for China to expand overseas.

Two thousand tons of Chinese exhibits were displayed in nine pavilions of agriculture, industry, education, literature, arts, transportation, minerals, food and horticulture. China won 1,211 prizes at the Expo, ranking it first of all the 31 participating nations.

Generally speaking, China's participation in Expo 1915 was massive in scale and rich in variety, and was a great boost to the newly founded government.

Q: What was the first landmark specifically created for a World Expo?

A:The Crystal Palace in London.

The first World Expo, also known as "the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations," was proposed for London in 1851 by Prince Albert. A unique building made of reinforced bars and glass panels was created in Hyde Park. Transparent, glittering and named "the Crystal Palace," it was 564 meters long and 33 meters high and grandly hosted the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution from over 14,000 exhibitors.It was destroyed by fire in 1936.