Many businesses in Beijing expected the Olympics to bring a boost to the local economy, but an article in The Economist has proved the opposite. Due to visa restrictions and the temporary shutdown of many bars, restaurants and street vendors, local shops have actually witnessed a downturn in business. Furthermore lower than expected visitor numbers have also left many hotel rooms unoccupied during the games.
The article reports:
At least the police are not rigorously enforcing a threatened ban on carousing after 2am. They have, however, cracked down on prostitution, depriving many of Beijing’s seedier bars and night-shift taxi drivers of business. Olympic traffic controls and security measures, as well as the lure of sport on television, seem to be keeping people at home anyway.
Not only in the retail sector but due to the pollution controls placed on nearby factories, manufacturers have also felt the brunt of the enforcement of controls during the games. Throughout the period of the Olympics, all construction and renovation work has also been banned outright.
Although initial fears that the Beijing Olympics would be “no-fun” was unfounded for foreign visitors who made the trip to the nation’s capital, local businesses are clearly not the ones enjoying themselves.
Photo by Ciro Cattuto