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Possible admissions hike at tourist sites ahead of National Day Holiday | Updated: 2014-09-25 12:48

Many tourist sites and local authorities have stated that they would not take advantage of the National Day holiday to raise admission ticket prices, after an earlier report showing price increases sparked public backlash.

According to the report published by on Sept 18, a few tourist attractions had adjusted their admission ticket prices ahead of the upcoming "Golden Week", a week of holidays led by the Chinese National Day.

For example, the Laiyuan Waterfall in Hebei province increased its admission price from 35 yuan ($5.7) to 50 yuan on Sept 3. Guangdong Mount Danxia scenic area's admissions increased from 160-180 to 200 yuan on Sept 1.

This is not the first time that tourist sites have adjusted prices ahead of a major public holiday. Last year, more than 12 national tourist attractions saw ticket prices soar ahead of the Labor Day holiday with some even doubling.

A study released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) last year showed that the admission prices for China's 4A and 5A class tourist sites were already high. More than half were priced 100 to 200 yuan, and seven percent above the 200 yuan range. It is also notable that all the 5A sites, the highest rated sites on the 1-5 scale, are priced above 100 yuan.

In the wake of the report and public criticism, many tourist sites and local authorities from different provinces have stated this week that they would not increase the ticket prices ahead of the National Day holiday.

The Anhui Province Price Bureau and Shangdong Tourist Administration said they would not increase prices for 5A sites for October. In Hubei province, prices for 5A sites will remain the same and some tourists attractions will offer discounts up to 25 percent. The Three Gorges Dam said they admissions would be free starting from Sept 24 of this month.

Despite these statements, it does not mean that the admission prices in these area will remain the same. Many tourist destinations will start to use the peak season pricing in October. The admission price for Shanya's Nanshan cultural resort will start at 150 yuan from Oct 1, 24 yuan higher than the current price.

The National Development and Reform Commission requires tourist sites to refrain from increasing admission prices once every three years. Due to the regulation, it appears that some tourist sites are taking the opportunity to raise prices every three years.

Despite having unique natural resources, many tourist destinations rely heavily on income from limited tourism products, this is the main reason that many destinations are constantly raising prices, said Liu Simin, a researcher with CASS.

In his opinion, tourist sites should not rely on income from admission tickets alone, but rather they should improve service and management, and develop more optimized travel products to improve its financial condition and the visitor experience.

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