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Beijing good example for using venues

Facilities built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have been well utilized, with many transitioned into world-class multi-purpose arenas that host sports and other events, and attract tourists, officials said.

Gui Lin, an official with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, said Beijing has set a good example for other post-Games venues to follow.

Venues like the National Stadium, or the Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube and the Wukesong Arena, the venue for the 2008 Olympic basketball tournament, are now used for sports and other events on about 300 days throughout the year. China National Convention Center, which served as the International Broadcasting Center, Main Press Center, and competition venues for fencing, air pistol in 2008, now hosts more than 400 events a year, she said.

“Almost every time that I visited those venues with experts from the International Olympic Committee and international sports federations, I saw events being held or people busy preparing for events, and I seldom saw them empty,” Gui said.

The Bird’s Nest has hosted more than 70 events this year, including sports events and shows. The stadium has even been reserved for functions as far in advance as 2018, said Li Zhiqun, assistant general manager of the stadium.

The stadium attracted more than 26 million tourists from October 2008 to the end of last year. With an average annual revenue of 200 million yuan ($30.2 million), the stadium has made a profit, he said.

Yang Qiyong, general manager of the National Aquatics Center, or Water Cube, said they have received 16.8 million tourists since the 2008 Beijing Olympics and hosted 232 events last year. In 2014, President Xi Jinping hosted a grand banquet in the center for guests attending the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

Wukesong Arena has been transformed into a landmark for sports and entertainment in Beijing, hosting about 300 concerts and sports matches per year and attracting 3 million visitors, said Yuan Yinghui, spokeswoman for the arena’s operator.

The operator is also constructing a mall, called HI-UP, with 2,800 parking lots and more than 100 shops for food and entertainment. Yuan said the mall, set to be completed in November, will offer visitors to the arena more choices for entertainment and relaxation after enjoying concerts or exercising.

Gui of the organizing committee said four venues used for the Beijing Olympics were constructed at universities, including Tsinghua University and the University of Science and Technology Beijing, and that those venues, while meeting students’ sporting needs, have also been transformed into multi-purpose arenas.

The stadium at the University of Science and Technology Beijing hosted taekwondo and judo at the 2008 Olympics. A swimming pool, which was filled and used as an office area in 2008, was restored as planned for post-Games use, said Ju Yang, director of an office the university set up for the stadium’s operation.

The university opens facilities in the stadium to the public every evening and on weekends and holidays. The stadium also hosts events, she said.