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September 24, 2009

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Ticket prices for scenic sites set for holiday hike

TICKET prices have jumped by up to 70 percent at some domestic scenic sites ahead of the National Day holiday, ignoring a central government order banning the practice.

For example, a ticket for Stone Forest in Shilin County of Kunming City, capital of southwestern China's Yunnan Province, is expected to be 200 yuan (US$29.30), up 40 percent.

Kunming authorities held a hearing in August to discuss price adjustments for site admission charges but no decision was reached, Metropolitan Express reported yesterday.

A recent hearing in eastern China's Anhui Province was held about a price rise for admission to Tianzhu Mountain. The new price will be 150 yuan, up from 120 yuan.

The price authority of Anhui's Guangde County held a hearing early this month to lift the price of a ticket to its Tai Chi Cave from 60 yuan to 90 yuan.

However, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top planning body, issued a circular on August 27 banning scenic site ticket price increase before National Day as its latest move to curb soaring ticket prices nationwide.

During the May Day holiday, some sites substantially increased ticket prices.

Scenic site operators cited a shortage of funds, heavy debts and the cost of extra staff to cope with the tourist influx to explain the price increases.

For Mount Huang scenic area in Anhui, local governments invested 1.85 billion yuan between 2006 and 2008 to protect its natural and cultural heritages, improve the environment and infrastructure facilities.

However, ticket revenue during the period was only 1.12 billion yuan.


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