CENTURY Park has scrapped plans for a four-fold admission fee hike while the world-famous “Rubber Duck” artwork is in residence, following a public outcry.
Officials at the Pudong New Area park had said admission would be increased from 10 yuan (US$1.63) to 40 yuan during the giant inflatable duck’s monthlong stay.
They claimed the hike was justified as the duck, which officially went on show yesterday, it part of a larger cultural festival.
But members of the public said that the artwork by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman had been displayed in locations in other cities for free or without extra charge.
In the end, park officials backtracked and decided to leave admission unchanged at 10 yuan. Officials said this was to express their gratitude for the public interest shown in the event.
They added that keeping to the standard price would help attract more visitors and offset the extra costs of staging the festival, which features another 14 attractions.
The duck made its official debut at Jingtian Lake in the park yesterday and will make the park its home through November 23.
By noon the park had attracted 5,000 visitors, said officials.
And on Wednesday, 9,000 people visited the park — five times the usual number — to get a sneak preview of the duck.
Organizers expect that 400,000 people will visit the park through the duck’s residency in the city.
The park has enclosed an area around the 18-meter-tall, 25-meter-wide artwork for security, and visitors can view it from 30 meters away.
Before the pricing U-turn, members of the public had complained that the price hike was unfair, as there was no charge to see the duck in Hong Kong and Taiwan, while no extra fee was charged during its display at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
One web user said he would rather spend the 120 yuan that admission would cost for a family of three buying a roast duck instead.
Created in 2007, the distinctive yellow ducks have been popular attractions around the world ever since. Shanghai is the third city in China’s mainland to host “Rubber Duck,” after Beijing and Hangzhou.
Its appearance in Shanghai stemmed from a letter from a local autistic boy known as Yanyan, who wrote to Hofman expressing his hopes to see the artwork in the city. Hofman visited Yanyan and was inspired to make his dream come true.
Yanyan and other autistic children were with Hofman at the opening.