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New Year’s Eve discounts for Pudong sights
By Hu Min

More than 10 scenic spots in the Pudong New Area will offer half price admission tickets on New Year’s Eve, the Pudong Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

Among them are the landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the Chocolate Happy Land, the 97th-floor observatory of Shanghai World Financial Center, the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and the 88th-floor observatory of Jin Mao Tower.

“We don’t expect extremely big crowds on December 31 because it is a working day, but we will still take necessary precautions like putting more staff on duty that day,” said Guo Yifeng, deputy general manager of Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower Co. The discounts will be welcome by tourists who have previously complained about the high price of entry tickets.

Miao Jiayuan, who works at a local foreign trade company, said she is considering a trip to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park. “It is a good deal as my company has a day off on that day. I will go with my mother and can save 130 yuan (US$20.96),” she said.

A single ticket to the park costs 130 yuan but Miao said she would think twice over fears that the discounts may draw big crowds. “I hope there are not many people at the park on that day. Tourist spots should offer discounts more often because admissions to all these places in China are overpriced,” she said.

Though pushed by the city’s tourism authorities to offer discounts more frequently, local scenic spots officials have balked at the idea of huge crowds, pressure on management and less profits.

The city’s tourism bureau had said earlier they were considering offering regular discounts on a fixed day each week, but that idea was also dropped.

Most scenic spots in the city reported a big jump in visitors when they offered discounts during the “China Tourism Day” in May this year and during the Shanghai Tourism Festival in September last year.

On May 19, huge crowds packed scenic spots across the city, leading to complaints about traffic jams, overcrowding and poor services.

Some visitors who queued outside the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the morning said they had waited for more than two hours for a ticket, while some of them jumped the queue.

Fifty-one tourists spots in the city took part in the 50-percent discount campaign to mark China Tourism Day this year. The scheme was announced following complaints that scenic spots were overpriced.

It was estimated that the numbers of people in the Lujiazui financial zone was between 600,000 to 700,000 that day — almost equal to the numbers seen during the National Day, traffic police said.

The number of visitors to the Happy Valley Amusement Park, Shanghai Wildlife Park and Fengjing Ancient Town all doubled their Sunday average.

It was the third straight year that the offer was made available at major tourist attractions across China. There are only six days in a year that scenic spots offer discount tickets.

Meanwhile, there will be number of celebrations in the city on the night of December 31.

A laser show with music will be held at the waterside platform on the south Binjiang area in Pudong and 2,014 balloons will be released at midnight.

A 3D light show will be staged at the Bund while people can also strike the bell at temples across the city.

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