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Games popular among urbanites

By He Dan  (China Daily)

16:26, July 24, 2012

Survey says young viewers are especially excited for Olympics

More than half of urban respondents in China said they are interested in the 2012 London Olympic Games, according to a survey China Daily obtained on Monday.

Residents in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, are the most enthusiastic about the London Olympics. About 75 percent of those polled in Guangzhou said they have paid close attention to the Games. That's about 15 percentage points higher than the national average.

The survey was conducted by Horizon Research and Horizonkey, which is based in Beijing.

More than 3,100 residents in 10 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, were polled.

Respondents said they were most excited about the opening ceremony, followed by the sports events and relays.

Urbanites who are younger than 40 are more interested in the Games. About 64 percent of people ages 18-39 said the Games interested them, while only half of those 40-60 said so.

Seven in 10 male respondents said they have kept a close eye on the London Olympics.

Liu Guang, a 26-year-old Guangzhou resident, said he cannot wait to watch the Games.

"I'm curious about whether Liu Xiang can make it to the 110m hurdles and what his performance will be like," he said.

"And I bet the US men's basketball team will be the champion again."

About 2 percent of those surveyed said they will travel to London for the Olympics.

Caissa International Travel Service is the sole authorized ticket reseller of the London Olympic Games on the Chinese mainland.

Caissa's president Chen Xiaobing said the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has distributed 18,000 tickets on the Chinese mainland. His agency bought 2,000 additional tickets through other sources, including Prestige Ticketing, according to a news release on the agency's official website on Friday.

Badminton, basketball and track and field are the most attractive events for Chinese tourists, he said, adding that there are about 3,000 tickets remaining.

Other travel agencies in China prefer organizing travel tours to Britain, including visiting the Olympic venues after, rather than during, the Games.

"It is too expensive to visit Britain during the Olympic Games because the cost is about 30 percent, or even 40 percent, higher than usual," said Li Meng, deputy general manager of the China International Travel Service's outbound travel department.

He said the expense during the Games discouraged most Chinese tourists.

The agency normally charges 20,000 yuan ($3,130) for a nine-day trip from China to Britain, he added.

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