World’s largest pearl market eyes Olympic-bound tourists


BEIJING – Beijing Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest of its kind in the world, announced the inauguration of its second pearl culture festival on Saturday. Its goal was to attract 20 percent of tourists visiting the host city for the forthcoming Olympic Games and Paralympics.

During the three-month promotion, a series of cultural activities will be held at the newly-renovated marketplace, including a forum on the development trends of the pearl industry, art performances and a collection of donations for the earthquake-affected people.

Collectors’ pearls and precious gems from both home and abroad will also be on display at the exhibit, according to the organizer.

The Second Beijing Hongqiao Pearl Culture Festival is co-organized by the Gems and Jewelry Trade Association of China and the Chongwen District Government, Beijing.

The market, one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the capital, trades about 200 tons of pearls annually, compared with the world’s yearly output of about 1,600 tons.

In recent years, the market has received more than 6,000 foreign leaders, envoys and celebrities.

For most foreign visitors to the city, at the top of their agendas are visiting the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace, eating Beijing Duck and shopping at the Xiushui Silk Market and Hongqiao Pearl Market.

The 29th Olympiad will be held on August 8-24 and the Paralympics on Sept. 6-17.

Beijing is expecting 500,000 foreign visitors during the Games.