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National Palace Museum postpones ticket price hike to July

National Palace Museum postpones ticket price hike to July

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) A plan to increase the price of admission to the National Palace Museum (NPM) will be postponed for three months until July 1 in order to allow more time for people to learn about the hikes, NPM Director Fung Ming-chu said Thursday. Come July, the price of regular tickets for the NPM in Taipei will be increased from NT$160 (US$5.37) to NT$250, while group tickets will cost NT$250 instead of NT$100, including NT$20 for an audio guide, according to Fung. The price of discounted tickets for students and military personnel will be raised from NT$80 to NT$150, she said. Fung said in a legislative committee meeting Wednesday that the price hike, scheduled to take effect April 15, was necessary because of rising personnel costs and electricity rates and in view of the soaring number of Chinese visitors to the public museum. The announcement of the increase, however, sparked public complaints and an outcry among stakeholders in the tourism industry. A visitor, surnamed Wang, said people will be less willing to visit the museum if they have to pay a higher admission fee. The tourism industry, meanwhile, said it plans to launch a protest against the price hike. Taiwan travel agencies that host Chinese visitors will have to absorb the museum price increase this year, since the contract between the agencies and their China counterparts are signed on an annual basis, according to Hsu Kao-ching, an official of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China. A slight increase in the admission fees would have been okay, but the steep hike is unacceptable, said Hsu, adding that 90 percent of the 2 million Chinese visitors to Taiwan each year visit the NPM. With an estimated annual total of 4 million people visiting the NPM, the price increase of NT$150 per person would give the museum an additional NT$600 million per year in income, he said. Tourist Bureau Chief Secretary Tsai Ming-ling said that the museum did not discuss the fee hike with the bureau and she suggested that the travel agencies in Taiwan try to negotiate with the NPM through their association. Fang Li-yu, general manager of Taiwan's Integrity International Travel Service Co., said that because the NPM is one of the country's most popular attractions, other places of interest will also want to increase their fees, which would lead to higher tour prices. This may result in travelers choosing other destinations rather than Taiwan, he added. In response, Fung said at a press conference Thursday that the planned hikes reflect increased operating costs. For example, the museum's annual electricity bill rose from NT$35.2 million in 2008 to NT$47 million in 2012, she said. The decision to raise the admission price was made based on the Charges and Fees Act, which allows for a review of the fees every three years, and has been approved by the National Treasury Administration, Fung said. (By Cheng Ching-wen and Nell Shen)


Updated : 2021-05-12 13:39 GMT+08:00