Visa Survey Shows Mounting Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Excitement

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Monday, 15 October 2007

With the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games just under 300 days away, a monthly tracking survey conducted by Visa International over the last three months shows increased Chinese consumer confidence that the Olympic Games will deliver economic and financial benefits to China.

Between July and September 2007, Visa conducted a total of 1,300 door-to-door interviews with people aged between 20 and 45 from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen on their attitudes towards the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. All respondents had bank accounts and a monthly household income of at least RMB1,250.

When the survey was first conducted in July 2007, 68% of respondents said they thought the Beijing Olympic Games would provide great financial and economic benefits to China. By September this rose to 78%.

Likewise, the international significance and the opportunity for the Games to create a greater understanding of China had also increased. In July 2007, 85% of respondents said they thought the Games would be a momentous occasion putting the spotlight on China. In September this increased to 93% of respondents.

Richard Chang, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Visa China said Visas survey was an indicator that as the Games draw ever closer, the Chinese were seeing the Games as an opportunity to showcase China and also draw economic and sporting benefits for the host nation.

The Olympic Games provide an opportunity for China to share with the world its history and culture, and as our survey reveals, while mainland Chinese see the Games as an opportunity to put Chinas best foot forward on the global stage, they also view the Games as providing a longer-lasting legacy for the economy, and sport and tourism industries, said Chang.

Survey respondents also saw a direct relation to the Games improving China as a tourism destination. Seven out of every ten respondents in the Visa survey said they expect Chinas tourism industry to reap benefits from the Games long after the last medal has been awarded. In recognition of the importance of payment systems to the international tourism industry, respondents also said China needed to have a payment system in place that international tourists were comfortable to use.

Initially when we did this survey, 69% of respondents said Chinas payment system must allow international tourists to be able to pay the way they do at home. By September, this had increased to 81% of respondents, perhaps underlining that while welcoming tourists is important, so too is making it possible for them to enjoy choice and payment convenience while they are in China, Chang said.

As part of its responsibilities as a worldwide Olympic sponsor, Visa is partnering with the Bank of China to install a special ATM network and hundreds of point-of-sale acceptance devices at competition and non-competition venues, including the Main Press Center and the Athletes Village.

Between June 2006 and June 2007, Visa has seen to the installation of 25,000 more ATMs and 76,000 more merchant locations - equating to an average of more than 210 new Visa merchants and 68 ATMs per day. In helping to lay the groundwork in the lead up to the Games, Visa aims to help China prepare for the expected influx of international visitors next year and beyond.

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