Sat, September 29, 2012

Web China: Netizens to snub visitor attractions despite price cuts

2012-09-29 10:52:48 GMT2012-09-29 18:52:48(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SHANGHAI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's top economic planner has released a second group of visitor attractions that will have their entrance fees cut, a day before the eight-day holiday. However, the move has received the cold shoulder from Chinese netizens who have complained that tickets remained exorbitant.

The second list, released Saturday, includes 94 sites nationwide with 14 classified as 5A areas, China's top scenic spots. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released the first group of 80 sites earlier this week.

Famous scenic spots like the Yulong Jokul, the Wudang Mountain and the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden will lower their ticket prices during the holiday period, according to the NDRC.

The commission said the move is to ensure the public enjoy the holidays of the National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival starting from September 30.

However, netizens vented their anger online, complaining that most of the sites on the list are not popular ones.

"I've never heard of some of the sites on the list except the Bagong Mountain," said a netizen from east China's Anhui Province with the screen name of "Kubidexingqisan" at the Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging service.

Criticism appeared shortly after the release of the first list, which was ironically dubbed a "brochure of China's unknown scenic spots."

Netizens found that some spots on the first list were already free.

The NDRC had said sites on the second list would be "more recognized" but it still excited few.

"Looking at the second list, I realize the government is bragging," said a Sina Weibo user "Mijulovejin."

Some believe the move is just to promote unpopular scenic spots.

"As a Shanghai resident, it's ridiculous to go to the Heqin Peach Garden in October because it's not the season for watching peach trees," said Xu Yun, an accountant with Shanghai Firefighting Research Institution.

Lou Jiajun, a professor of tourism with the East China Normal University, said netizens were not happy with overpriced tickets. "Most famous sites announce to charge more on ticket prices every three years," Lou said.

The E'mei Mountain in southwest China's Sichuan Province pushed up its prices earlier this month from 150 yuan (23.87 U.S dollars) to 185 yuan for peak seasons, which lasts as long as 11 months a year.

Statistics show that over half of all the 130 5A sites in China charge more than 100 yuan, and 14 of them above 200 yuan.

Zhangjiajie, a national forest park in central Hunan Province, is among the most costly scenic spots in the country. A seven-day ticket costs 298 yuan, about four times that of Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.

"Chinese people pay too much on ticket prices of domestic scenic spots," said Wang Bin, director of Japan Sector of Shanghai China International Travel Service Ltd.

"If we look at Japan, the average ticket price of domestic scenic spots is around 1,000 Japanese Yen, accounting for about 1/300 of their average monthly income. But in China, the ratio is above 1/100," Wang said.


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