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Chongqing Hongya Cave, Rising Web-Star on Social Video App, is to Charge Fees?

Published: May. 11, 2018

A landmark building in Chongqing, namely the Hongya Cave in central downtown, recently became a web-star on Douyin, a popular Chinese short video sharing APP. Among the top ten attractions of China selected by online media during the past 2018 May Day Holiday, Hongya Cave ranked the second, only after the Forbidden City in Beijing. After Hongya Cave rose to fame, it was said to begin to charge entrance fees of CNY 20 on national public holidays, while it has long been opened for free in the past.

How did Hongya Cave become a web-star?

Hongya Cave at Night
Hongya Cave at Night

With its unique architectural style, Hongya Cave always has the potential to be a web-star. The traditional stilted houses along the river bank were constructed on mountain cliffs and present ancient Sichuan and Chongqing culture to the largest degree. When Douyin users uploaded the videos of Hongya Cave decorated by dazzling lights at night, it gained much more favor than before. Some careful netizens even pointed out that Hongya Cave looked exactly like the bath house in the famous Japanese anime film Spirited Away, giving Hongya Cave more connotations. As a result, the cave became known to more and more tourists.

Official reasons to charge entrance fees

As for why to charge the entrance fees, the scenic area manager gives the following reasons: first, the entrance fee is only charged on public holidays and the entrance fee will not surpass CNY 20, which is acceptable for a majority of tourists; second, the huge tourist flow is getting beyond the receiving capacity of the scenic area, so it’s necessary to limit the flow; last but not the least, the increasing tourist number causes a rise in maintenance cost, which drives the levy of entrance fees.

Hongya Cave to charge entrance fees, misuse of its popularity?

Hongya Cave has been opened free to the public since its opening, now the entrance fee stirred disputes among tourists. With the precedent that many scenic areas in China have canceled entrance fees, like the West Lake of Hangzhou, Hongya Cave acts just the other way around. Before this, there were some attractions starting to charge entrance fees after becoming popular, like Phoenix Ancient Town of Hunan, receiving nothing but bad reviews and antipathy from tourists. Someone said they should work out some other ways to control the traffic flow and raise funds for maintenance other than charge entrance fees.

Anyway, whether the Hongya Cave will charge entrance fees on public holidays has not been decided yet. Do you think it’s a good idea or bad idea?

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