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University raises admittance fee to cherry blossom garden | Updated: 2013-03-13 16:49

A top university in Central China has been criticized for doubling the entrance fee to its famous cherry blossom garden on its campus, which will be in full bloom in mid-March.

Authorities from Wuhan University of Hubei province said that from Wednesday, it will charge 20 yuan ($3.2) admission to visit the cherry blossom garden, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The university has collected entrance fees for several years. The previous price was 10 yuan per person. Last year the university received a record high of 200,000 tourists a day.

University authorities said a large number of tourists visit the campus during the cherry blossom season every year, seriously disrupting the school's teaching and study routine. The school is also renovating its main gate and has already experienced severe traffic congestion nearby.

"By charging 20 yuan a ticket, we are trying to keep a normal environment for our students and teachers," Xinhua quoted the university authorities as saying.

The jump in admission price has prompted a public debate, as the cherries are reaching full bloom. Some critics questioned the school's decision, suggesting the school is making money in the name of limiting tourists.

"If they meant to limit the number of visitors they should out a cap on how many people should be received a day, rather than increase the price," Xinhua quoted a disgruntled visitor as saying.

But many students at the university voiced their support.

"All you see are lots of people on the campus and it's very difficult for us even to walk to the classroom," said Luo Qing, a graduate student at the University.

"And when all the visitors have gone at night, you see garbage all over the ground."

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