Focus shifts to Paralympics as Olympics comes to an end

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Beijing, Aug 26 (UNI) After dazzling the world by hosting a spectacular Olympics, Beijing is all set to host the next big event here - the Paralympic Games - which begins from September 6 and the city is already in profits with brisk ticket sales.

''All departments concerned are ready for the transformation work, and we are confident of staging another successful Games,'' Director of Beijing Organising Committee for Olympic Games' (BOCOG) Paralympics department, Zhang Qiuping, said.

A senior official of the Games' organising committee has confirmed that tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies of the event and associated sports events are selling well.

''So far, more than 480,000 tickets have been sold, 32,000 of them to disabled spectators, their families and friends,'' Tang Xiaoquan, executive vice-president of BOCOG and vice-president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation said.

Of the total 1.66 million tickets available, the best seats will go to disabled spectators, said Zhao Chunluan, chief of the Beijing Disabled Persons Federation.

''The ticket prices have been kept low - from 30 yuan to 80 yuan, and people can book through the official website until September 14,'' Chunluan said, and added that all the tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served-basis.

''The city's tourism bureau has spent 2 million yuan (290,000 dollars) on upgrading its facilities for people with physical and visual disabilities,'' Deputy Director of the Beijing Tourism Administration Xiong Yumei had said.

All hotels ranked three-star and above will provide special barrier-free parking spaces, toilets and rooms, she added.

The city's 16 contracted hotels for the Paralympics will provide a total of 174 barrier-free rooms, while authorities have also spent 67 million yuan to provide barrier-free access and other services for wheelchair users at 60 tourist attractions in the city, including the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.

Buildings across Beijing city have been fitted with easy-access installations and the the logo of the Paralympics, dubbed ''Sky, Earth and Human Beings'' have begun to replace those of the Olympic Games.

UNI HSB RAR DS1512

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