Palace Museum offers price cuts for latecomers

September 12, 2014 12:08
The Palace Museum in the Forbidden City is the world's most visited museum, with annual attendance topping 10 million visitors. Photo: HKEJ

The Palace Museum in Beijing is offering half-price admission after 2 p.m. to ease overcrowding during peak times.

The offer is available only for online booking but people can buy as many as five concessionary tickets in a single day during the three-day trial from Sept. 12 to 14.

Regular prices are 60 yuan (US$16) during peak season from April to the end of October and 40 yuan from December to March.

Netizens are unhappy with the offer, saying the 2 p.m. admission does not give visitors enough time to tour the museum which closes at 5 p.m.

Sales have been slow, with only a few hundred tickets bought.

The Palace Museum is the most visited museum in the world, with annual attendance topping 10 million visitors, according to its director, Shan Jixiang.

In 2012, a record 15.34 million people visited the Forbidden City, which houses the Palace Museum. The number fell to 14.56 million in 2013 after it introduced a closed-Monday policy.

The number of visitors rose 3.6 percent in the first half of the year from the previous year, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

Daily average attendance hit 77,000 during the summer, putting pressure on capacity and increasing security risks, Shan said.    

He expects the number of annual visitors to fall to 14 million, allowing the museum some breathing space.

The Palace Museum will introduce a monitoring system which will allow visitors to check foot traffic on their smartphones and give administrators a better handle on attendance, Legal Evening News reported in May.

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EJ Insight reporter