Hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics put Beijing on the map as a major international events destination. Friday’s news that Beijing will host the 2022 Olympics—making it the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games—only cements its reputation. What Beijing lacks in snow, it makes up for in other ways, including impressive infrastructure, public transportation and facilities that will only continue to be improved in the next seven years.
A high-speed train is already under construction to Zhangjiakou—a mountainous region that’s a will be the 2022 Games’ skiing epicenter—cutting the commute from two hours to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, other projects created for the 2008 Olympics remain of great use for sports planners interested in hosting events there.
China National Convention Center, built to house press during the Summer Games, now welcomes international conferences and trade shows, and is perfect for your exhibitors. With eight floors (plus two subterranean levels), the venue encompasses a 248,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall, 69,000-sq.-ft. plenary hall, 52,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and nearly 100 meeting rooms. CNCC is also home to the 420-room Grand Hotel, and the 337-room InterContinental Beijing is connected to the facility.
Its impressive neighbor, Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, was originally constructed to house Olympic swimming events and now hosts events and serves as a water park. Its 861,000 square feet of event space includes a multifunction hall accommodating 1,000 guests, the South Square for outdoor events and side buildings for smaller gatherings.
Architecture aficionados are attracted to Beijing for its dynamic structural riches, ranging from playful to sleek, futuristic to avant-garde. The Summer Palace is an escape from urban congestion, as well as stunning insight into Asian garden design. Attendees should consider a pre- or post-con day trip to the Great Wall, which has access points all around the city. Ni hao, Beijing!
Nearest Airport: Beijing Capital International
Airlift: Two daily flights from Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco International
Main Convention Center: Metro (signs and announcements in English)
Transportation: China National Convention Center
Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens require a visa and six months’ validity remaining on their passport. Americans are eligible for a 72-hour transit visa exemption.