Since the nineties Yunnan has been an increasingly popular destination for Chinese and foreign backpackers, during which time cities such as Lijiang, Dali and Zhongdian (now Shangri-la) have changed from rustic old towns into increasingly commercialized areas of dubious authenticity and diminishing charm.
It appears likely that this trend is only going to accelerate – this week it was announced that Lijiang will start to strictly enforce its 80 yuan (US$11.70) entry fee for its old town area, while Dali's government announced that the third-largest amusement park in mainland China will be built in the Erhai Lake valley.
"Welcome to Lijiang... pay up!"
Lijiang's Old Town Management Bureau recently announced to media that it will create a virtual wall of checkpoints around the old town to enforce the 80 yuan entry fee – an unpopular fee whose enforcement has become increasingly lax in recent years.
According to government statistics, poor enforcement of the old town entry fee has led to a loss of nearly 100 million yuan in revenue. Last year Lijiang took a total of 180.6 million yuan in old town entry fees, with 140 million yuan of those fees coming from tour groups and 20 million yuan from hotels.
Rigorous enforcement of the relatively high entry fee for the old town is unlikely to hurt agencies managing tour groups but could prove damaging to guesthouses and restaurants that rely more on independent travelers.
Dali to build southwest China's largest amusement park
On Saturday, the Dali Tourism Holiday District Management Committee signed an agreement with Shenzhen-based Jianianhua Investment Company Limited in which the latter will invest 600 to 800 million yuan in a 15 hectare amusement park that will be the largest in southwest China and the third-biggest in China after parks in Beijing and Shanghai.
The amusement park, which is expected to launch operations in two years, will have all the rides and features of Jianianhua's Shijing Shan amusement park in Beijing. Dali is one of three possible candidates in Yunnan for selection as a World Heritage Site later this year.© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.