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Rumors that Confucius site to raise prices cause outcry

(Xinhua)

09:15, May 07, 2012

Rumors of a possible entrance fee hike for a memorial site devoted to ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius in east China's Shandong Province have led to an outcry among web users, many of whom believe ticket prices for Chinese tourist sites are already too high.

"It cannot be seen as an example of world cultural heritage if its entrance fees fail to match its status," a person claiming to be a publicity official from the city of Qufu, the home of the memorial site, was quoted as saying on May 2 on web portal Netease.

The memorial site and its accompanying attractions, including the Confucius Temple, the Kong Family Mansion and the Confucius Cemetery are classified as world heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"We charge tourists only 150 yuan (US$23.8), but other places charge more," an official said.

"For example, the cost to visit Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi Province is 180 yuan, while for the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province the cost is 230 yuan," the official said.

Amid heated discussion on China's microblogging sites, local authorities in Qufu denied any hikes were planned.

"The Confucius Temple, the Kong Family Mansion and the Confucius Cemetery charge no more than 100 yuan for tickets. That price was set in 2007 and will not change in the near future," said Kong Deping, head of the Qufu tourism bureau for cultural relics.

Analysts say huge public outcry over the tendency of the country's tourist spots to raise ticket prices may have forced Qufu's tourism authorities to shelve any ticket hike plan.

More than 1 million microblog posts on weibo microblogging service are about ticket price hikes at the country's tourist spots.

In an online survey by the Nanfang Daily, 86 percent of respondents said tourist spot tickets are too expensive.

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