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December 22, 2012

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Demand sinks for cruises along creek

SHANGHAI Suzhou Creek Sightseeing Co has reduced its cruise schedule due to sluggish business, the operator said yesterday.

The cruises have been reduced from eight to four per day.

Expensive tickets and long trips are the main reasons for the lack of customers, experts said. Moreover, they said fewer people want to take a cruise during the winter.

"We will go back to the original schedule when the weather warms up and business improves," said Lin Yong, the company's general manager.

Cruises along the creek resumed in April after a one-year hiatus while the waterway was being dredged. But the market response was not as strong as had been expected.

The new cruise route had been extended from 10 kilometers to 19 kilometers with a round trip taking three hours.

But some tourists have complained that the longer route is not well designed as they spent too much time watching residential buildings on the banks of the creek.

The full cruise winds its way under 12 bridges. Customers can see historic factories and Saint John's College - China's first modern university - on the banks of Suzhou Creek.

Passengers have also complained about the 200 yuan (US$32.1) cost for a round trip between the Danba Road dock and Waibaidu Bridge in Huangpu District. An evening cruise costs 230 yuan.

Lou Jiajun, professor of East China Normal University's tourism department, advised the operator to redesign the route. He suggested the company offer shorter trips such as a 5-kilometer route that covers the top sightseeing spots.


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