Exam provides boon to hotels, other businesses

14:33, June 08, 2011      

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With the advent of the annual national college entrance examination on Tuesday and Wednesday, large numbers businesses are enjoying boom times.

In Shanghai, many hotels are renting out special rooms to students who are sitting the exam this year.

At the Xujiahui branch of the hotel chain Home Inns, which is close to a testing site at Nan Yang High School, a staff member told China Daily that rooms are being let to test takers at a rate of 168 yuan ($26) for five hours.

"The students will be put on the third and fourth floors to ensure they can enjoy peace and quiet and a sound sleep," she said.

The staff member said the price for renting one of the rooms has not changed since last year and that there are enough rooms to meet students' needs.

Elsewhere in the country, a strong demand exists for hotel rooms found near schools. Seeing their opportunity, some hotels have raised their rates at least four or five times in the past month.

In Changchun, capital city of Northeast China's Jilin province, hotels near testing sites have been booked up for months in advance of the exam dates. A strong demand has driven the room rates upward; many rooms now cost four to five times as much as they usually do, according to the reports.

Wang Zhenhui, deputy secretary-general of China Hotel Association, told China Daily that "an ever larger number" of students have chosen to stay at hotels during the exam time in recent years.

"Their typical choice for a hotel varies from region to region," Wang said. "But most choose mid- and lower-range hotels or chain hotels."

Wang said staying at a hotel is reasonable when one considers that doing so allows an exam taker, by spending a few hundred yuan, to avoid struggling with traffic, have a place to rest at noon and have a cool place to go to on a hot summer day.

Wang said hotels that accommodate test takers have strengthened their security precautions, taken extra steps to guarantee the safety of food and worked with local medical institutions to ensure help can be had in emergencies.

In the interest of punctuality at the testing sites, Shanghai's five taxi companies began on May 29 to offer a reservation system exclusively to exam takers.

The head of the Shanghai Dazhong Taxi Company's dispatch center told China Daily that most of the five taxi companies' cars have been booked since May 29. The Dazhong Company itself has dispatched more than 3,000 taxies to takers of the national college entrance examination.

"To meet this temporary demand, we are running a number of additional cars and some emergency vehicles," he said.

Elsewhere, certain service centers have started "exam nanny" businesses. These enlist retired teachers, who offer tutoring and domestic services to students. Their goal is to make it easier for parents who are busy with work to help their children in their studies.

A man surnamed Lu said he has made many sacrifices for his son, who is sitting for the college entrance exam this year.

"I've bought a lot of healthcare products and food for him," he said. "And I have promised to take him to travel abroad as a reward for this hard year."

Like Lu, many parents plan to give their children some rest after the exam by taking a trip.

"This summer, trips to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States are very popular among students," said a staff member of the Shanghai CYTS Tours Corp.

"We have received many calls from parents who want to take a trip with their children," he said.

Shanghai China International Travel Service Co Ltd said organized trips to Europe are nearly booked full this year. Many students and their parents started making travel plans in April and May.

Li Sixiao contributed to this story.

Source:China Daily
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