BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic Games will help Beijing become a world-class city and reduce foreigners' misconceptions about China, Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the International Olympic Committee Marketing Commission, said here Tuesday.
In a speech delivered for the Beijing Forum on the Olympic Economy, Heiberg used the examples of the 2000 Sydney and the 2004Athens Olympics to illustrate how the Games had changed the host cities and their countries.
In 2000, people around the world saw a modern economy in Sydney and other parts of Autralia, and the Olympics had brought about huge influence to both the host city and Australia, said Heiberg.
By hosting the 2000 Olympics, Sydney upgraded its infrastructure very fast and had become a world-class city and a hot tourist destination, which also happened to Athens when the ancient city hosted the 2004 Olympics, he noted.
As for Beijing, the city had already undergone a sea change over the past several years and the hosting of the Olympics would certainly bring about more changes, said Heiberg.
"The look of the city has changed a lot since 1974 when I visited Beijing for the first time.... Today's Beijing is much greener than it used to be and the living environment has improved significantly," he said.
The preparatory work for the Olympic Games had remarkably made Beijing a modern city, said Heiberg.
As Beijing becomes the focus of world attention in August the municipality would become a world-class city, he said.
The Games will give China such a level of international media exposure and draw such large numbers of foreign visitors that it will have a great opportunity to show itself to visitors and tourists, which would help reduce foreigners' misconceptions about China, said Heiberg.
"Many people outside China don't know about China or its development, and they have many misconceptions. So the Games provides a good opportunity to communicate," he said.
The one-day forum, which Beijing also held last year, was co-sponsored by the International Olympic Committee Marketing Commission and the Marketing Department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
Special report: 2008 Olympic Games