Beijing tourist sites unscathed by deluge

Most scenic spots in Beijing got through the storm on Saturday unscathed, but rain continued to lash neighboring Hebei province, killing at least 17 people by Monday.

Meanwhile, the highway linking Beijing, Hong Kong and Macao remains blocked.

Some lamp poles, guardrails, signboards and parking lots were damaged by the worst storm in the capital in more than six decades, and the government is repairing them, Beijing tourism authorities said on Monday.

The worst-hit tourist sites included Shidu, Badachu Park and Tongzhou Grand Canal Forest Park, Yu Debin, deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Development Committee, said at a news conference on Monday.

Lu Yong, the committee's director, warned the public to stay away from undeveloped mountainous areas because Beijing might get another rainstorm on Wednesday.

"We will restore the warning and direction signs that were damaged by the storm as soon as possible, but we're also advising tourists not to go to dangerous places," Lu said.

Lu said the storm, which killed at least 37 people in the city, will not seriously hurt Beijing's tourism industry.

Liu Wenbo, director of the administrative office of Badaling special zone, where the famous Badaling section of the Great Wall stands, said "not fewer" tourists visited the scenic spot over the weekend than before.

"The rainfall here was not as serious as it was downtown," he said.

Famous downtown tourist sites, such as the Palace Museum, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, were not damaged by the torrential rainfall, according to the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage.

China CYTS Tours Holding said its business in the capital was not affected because most of the scenic spots and routes are in the northern part of the city, where storm damage was not as bad as in the southern part.

A bus driver for a private transportation company in Hebei province that carries passengers from Beijing to Hebei's capital, Shijiazhuang, said no trips have been canceled or prices increased despite the rain.

However, he has to take a different route because the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway was still blocked on Monday. That was the only highway still flooded in Beijing, according to the committee.

"The detour adds an hour to the trip between the two cities," said the driver, named Fu.

The storm that hit Beijing on Saturday ravaged neighboring Hebei on Sunday and Monday.

At least 17 people have been confirmed dead and 21 missing in Hebei, the provincial civil affairs bureau said on Monday.

Eleven thousand tourists and 2,700 rural residents are still stranded in Laiyuan, Laishui and Yixian counties, as roads leading to rural tourists attractions remain blocked and telecommunications cut off.

The rain has brought floods and hail to 56 counties in Hebei, and nearly 160,000 people were evacuated over the weekend.

Hebei's Yesanpo tourist resort was one of the worst hit areas.

Thousands of tourists, who were short of water and cut off in traffic and communication, have been taken away from Yesanpo, according to the micro blog of Laishui county, where Yesanpo is located.

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