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Key to Ticket Prices Reduce: State-owned Spots with High Prices
来源:中国文化和旅游产业研究院 日期:2021-06-02 浏览次数: 字号:[ ]

Source: China Academy of Culture & Tourism Date: June 19th, 2019

The report on the Work of the Government 2018 mentioned “lower ticket prices at key state tourist sites”. What does “key” mean? To answer this question, please look at these data first.

First of all, domestic visitors’ consumption on scenic tours has a very low proportion of total travel consumption. According to Comprehensive Analysis Report on Chinas domestic Tourism Sampling Survey 2016, urban tourists spend 1115.2 yuan per capita on every travel which includes transportation cost for 34.3%, accommodation for 17.7%, food for 26.0%, shopping for 12.3%, scenic tour for 6.1% and other costs for 3.5%. Rural tourists spend 671.7 yuan per capita on every travel which includes transportation cost for 31.6%, accommodation for 13.0%, food for 27.2%, shopping for 16.8%, scenic tour for 6.4% and other costs for 5.0%.

Secondly, ticket income doesn’t account for a large share of ticket sales revenue. Annual review on A-level tourist attractions 2016 points out that 4.432 billion tourists have visited 9824 A-level tourist attractions all over China, bringing in the total income of 385.820 billion yuan with 90.620 billion yuan (23.5%) for ticket income. The consumption per capita is 87 yuan.

Lastly, Statistical Release on China’s Tourism 2016 reveals that the percentage of scenic spots’ income in national tourism revenue is very low. In 2016, national tourism revenue has reached 3.94 trillion yuan, in which scenic spots’ revenue is only 385.8 billion yuan accounting for 10% of the total number.

According to Annual review on A-level tourist attractions 2016, there’re 9824 A-level scenic spots in 2016, which include 227 5A spots, 3034 4A spots, 4112 3A spots, 2451 2A and lower-level spots. All A-level attractions generated revenue of 385.820 billion yuan. The average ticket price is 30 yuan, marking the first decline of the average ticket price in A-level spots since 2013.

All these show that tickets to scenic spots are not very expensive.

But why people always feel it’s too high for a scenic spot? Why there’re violent reactions from the public for years?

The program Oriental Horizon of China Central Television released in 2013 that there’re only 20% of 130 5A spots have a ticket price lower than 60 yuan, and 30% for 60~100 yuan, 50% for 100~200 yuan. The average price is higher than 100 yuan.

A research report from Tourism Research Center, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2014 shows that the average ticket price of 5A spots was 112 yuan. Hubei province was 169 yuan, Chongqing city 149 yuan, Jiangxi province 147 yuan, Anhui province 142 yuan and Yunnan province 141 yuan.

Recently, a piece of news was released on Voc BBS that the average ticket price of 234 5A scenic spots in China is higher than 100 yuan. There’re 15 spots have free tickets accounting for 6%, 18 spots lower than 50 yuan for 8%, 204 spots higher than 50 yuan for 87%, 135 spots beyond 100 yuan for 58%, 81 spots higher than 150 yuan for 35%, 25 spots over 200 yuan for 10%. According to its prediction, a man shall pay more than 25000 on tickets to visit all these 5A spots.

It shows the fact that the average ticket price of 5A spots has been over 100 yuan over the years. What does that mean to the public?

In Statistical Bulletin of the People’s Republic of China on National Economic and Social Development in 2017, it’s estimated that per capita monthly disposable income of urban households is 3033 yuan, rural households 997 yuan; per capita monthly consumption expenditure of urban households is 1516.5 yuan, rural households 912.9 yuan. A ticket costing 100 yuan accounts for 3.3% in per capita monthly disposable income of urban households and 10% in rural households; for 6.6% in per capita monthly consumption expenditure of urban households and 12.1% in rural households.

It’s only less than 1% which a ticket for a famous historical, cultural or natural attraction accounts for in a middle-income level abroad, while in China, the rate (in average-income level) is 6% to 10%.

At the same time, we must notice that not all famous spots have high ticket prices. It differs greatly in 5A spots. About a third are for free or less than 100 yuan, a third for 100~150 yuan, and a third for over 150 yuan. According to the report from Tourism Research Center in 2014, the average ticket price of 5A spots is 29 yuan in Beijing which has the lowest price level in China. The Palace Museum is 40/60 yuan, the Summer Palace is 20/30 yuan, Tiantan Park is 10/15 yuan (a joint ticket for 30/35 yuan), Badaling Great Wall is 35/40 yuan, and Prince Kung's Mansion is 40 yuan. All of these prices haven’t been raised for years.

Not all famous spots have high ticket prices. Not all state-owned scenic spots and 5A spots have high ticket prices. Only a few tickets are too expensive, more than tourists can afford psychologically and practically. Among over 20000 scenic spots in China, about 100 have ticket prices over 100 yuan, especially over 150 yuan. Most of them are based on natural scenery, historical and cultural public sources; some are provided with monopolistic or nonrenewable, irreproducible national or international resources. They’re mainly state-owned scenic spots directly managed by governments and their construction of public facilities are mostly invested by fiscal investment.

The key to reducing the ticket prices in some state-owned spots lies in lowering these prices on the high side in 5A state-owned scenic spots. It’s feasible, also easy to be realized, being able to influence and stimulate the price reform in state-owned scenic spots all over China. Those theme parks, amusement parks and holiday resorts invested by social capital don’t belong to “state-owned scenic spots”. Ticket prices in these parks are set by enterprises according to market supply and demand situation. Whether they’re worth it? it’s a question answered by tourists’ comments.

Wang Xingbin, China Economic Herald, 2018.7.5

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