Curb price hikes for tourist sites

Updated: 2012-04-10 08:06

(China Daily)

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Tourist attractions across the country witnessed a surge in visitors over the Qingming Festival, but many of the sites had increased their entrance fees in expectation of bumper profits. This is really disappointing and highlights loopholes in the regulations, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

According to an ordinance introduced by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2007, the price adjustment cycle should be three years. As this time-limit has now past, many tourist attractions have raised their entrance fees.

But even taking into account things like inflation, wage-increases and rising costs, the price increases still don't make sense.

First of all, even though the entrance fees of many tourist sites had already surpassed 100 yuan ($15.85), some attractions still raised their entrance fees by large amounts. For instance, Taierzhuang ancient town raised its entrance fee from 100 yuan to 160 yuan.

Many people are complaining that the prices are already too high and the hikes are incomprehensible and have ruined many people's holidays.

Even more worryingly, some parks in urban areas have also raised their entrance fees.

Yet the relevant regulations already stipulate that tourist attractions under government management are in the public interest, either because of their historical and cultural value, or geological and natural worth. Therefore these places are owned by all of us and so they should only be charging entrance fees that enable them to cover their costs.

Local governments should bear in mind their social responsibilities are not just the profits.

According to the regulations, the entrance fees of tourist sites under the management of provincial and lower-level governments should not surpass those managed by governments at a level higher, exceptions need to be approved by the pricing authority. But the entrance fees of some tourist attractions are already more than the entrance fee for the Palace Museum in Beijing. We appeal to the government to strengthen price supervision.

(China Daily 04/10/2012 page9)