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Pingyao's ticket price hike "not official's fault"

07-12-2010 15:01 BJT

BEIJING, July 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Officials denied that a planned 25-percent increase in ticket prices for an UNESCO World Heritage Site in North China's Shanxi province had anything to do with the financial burden caused by free reception for officials.

The ticket price of Pingyao, a city renowned for its well-preserved 2,700-year-old ancient city wall, is expected to increase to 125 yuan ($18) from the current 100 yuan during a hearing on July 19.

Lanterns hang over a major thoroughfare in the 2,700-year-old town of Pingyao on Feb 6, a week before this year's Spring Festival.(Xinhua file photo)
Lanterns hang over a major thoroughfare in the 2,700-year-old town of Pingyao on Feb 6, a week before this year's Spring Festival.(Xinhua file photo)
The ticket revenue "offers some help" to the world heritage site's maintenance, but could not completely meet the increasing need to protect the site, an anonymous official of the city government was quoted as saying.

Authorities hope the increase would control the rapid growth of tourists.

However, the official denied the increase has any connection with the free reception for officials, which previous reports said had pushed the tourist city into the red.

The ancient city has been paying the expenses for up to 100,000 official visitors on free sightseeing trips a year, which has cost the local government millions of yuan in ticket revenue a year, the Chengdu Business Daily reported in June.

These visitors are officials who say they are visiting Pingyao on official public duty. They are given free admission to the tourist site along with free lodging and meals.

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