Price hearing of world heritage sites scheduled
A hearing will be held on ticket price rise of six UNESCO world heritage sites in Beijing Tuesday, according to the Beijing Daily Messenger.
The Forbidden City and Dingling currently have the highest ticket price, 60 yuan (US$7.24) in the busy season and 40 yuan (4. US$8) in the off season.
Beijingers are especially concerned with the price rise of tickets for the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven, since they frequent the two parks for morning exercises, the paper said.
"We need a huge amount of money for these sites' preservation, which is the main reason for the price hike," Li Gao, assistant to the Summer Palace director was quoted by the paper as saying.
He also said he hoped to control the overloaded number of visitors through the price hike.
"It will depend on the hearing whether the price can be raised, though we hope the price increase plan will be passed smoothly," he said.
Representatives for the hearing investigated the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.
"The price for the Summer Palace is much lower than other world renowned tourist resorts," Li said.
"Ticket revenue is the main source for the world heritage sites' operational costs. Government allocation only accounts for 30 percent of the total funding," Li said.
"A reasonable ticket price is key to preservation, administration and service of the Summer Palace as well as other world heritage sites."
Annually, 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million) is spent on renovation of buildings in the Summer Palace and another 20 million yuan is needed to buy water for the lake in the Summer Palace, the paper said.
According to Li, the Summer Palace plans to invest 650 million yuan (US$78.5 million) in its renovation between now and 2007.
Meanwhile, he said the annual tickets of lower price are available not only for retired Beijingers but the common people in and outside Beijing according to the price rise plan.