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Admission prices affect business in Lijiang Ancient Town

06/07/2016| 2:58:50 PM| 中文

The dilemma of entrance charge is not a case that solely troubles Lijiang. In 2013, another ancient town, Phoenix Town in Hunan Province, started to sell tickets, sparking a controversial public debate on whether the ancient town should impose charges for visitors.

Thousands of business people closed their stores at day time last Wednesday in Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan Province, signaling a gesture of protest against the local administration's practice of charging for entrance tickets to the famously well-preserved old town.

Some store owners resumed business at about 11:00 a.m. on that day following lobbying of the local administration, which vowed to launch a legal investigation on those who led and instigated the strike of local business owners.

With the approval of the provincial government in Yunnan, Lijiang Ancient Town started to charge for entrance tickets to finance the maintenance of the town in 2001. Before March 2007, with a cost of RMB 20 (USD 3) per person, people could walk around the town with no extra charge. Afterwards, the price surged to RMB 80 per person. But visitors could dodge paying for the admission by taking other entrances.

Many tourists disagreeing with the charge gave up their plans to visit, which led to considerable losses for local groceries and souvenir stores.

The dilemma of entrance charge is not a case that solely troubles Lijiang. In 2013, another ancient town, Phoenix Town in Hunan Province, started to sell tickets, sparking a controversial public debate on whether the ancient town should impose charges for visitors.

By 2015, revenues for maintenance use surpassed RMB 2.77 billion in addition to a loan amassing to RMB 3.9 billion. About RMB 6.6 billion is used for preserving and protecting the ancient look of the town, including the construction of infrastructure, the restoration of old buildings, dismantling illegal architecture and moving cable lines underground. There is still an outstanding debt of approximately RMB 1.57 billion.

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TAGS: Lijiang | Yunnan | attractions | China
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