Palace Museum tickets sold out online

Culture
Tickets to the Palace Museum have almost been sold out online during the past National Day holiday.

China SCIOUpdated: October 11, 2017
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On Oct. 2, the second day of the National Day holiday, the long lines of years past at the Duanmen (Upright Gate) ticket office outside the Palace Museum in Beijing were nowhere to be seen. No wonder — the 80,000 tickets for the day had already been sold out online by 1:38 a.m.

Since September 2011, when the museum (also known as the Forbidden City) first opened online ticket booking, this was the first time all the tickets were sold online.

Museum director Shan Jixiang recalled the first day the museum opened online ticket booking on Sept. 25, 2011, and only 287 tickets were sold — less than 2 percent of all tickets sold that day. From 2011 to 2014, online ticketing remained at around 2 percent, but when the museum implemented a daily ticket cap of 80,000 on June 13, 2015, online ticketing began to grow from 17 percent in 2015, to 41 percent in 2016, to the entire batch on Oct. 2.

Shan said online ticketing has helped the museum to avoid overcrowding. Meanwhile, the six themed exhibitions spread throughout the Palace Museum have also alleviated congestion along its north-south axis. Among them, the exhibition “Princess Sissi” on the lives of Hungarian aristocrats in the 17th-19th centuries was especially popular, receiving 35,000 daily.

The progress in online ticket sales proves the effectiveness of the museum’s micromanagement and crowd control efforts, Shan said, and the museum will further enhance visitor experiences next year by analyzing big data and offer time slot tickets. These crowd control efforts are to ensure safe, orderly, and comfortable visits, and to encourage visitors to make use of the online ticketing system, Shan said,

While the number of visitors is likely to drop towards the end of the holiday, Shan still recommends online booking in advance. The Oct. 5 batch of tickets were also entirely sold out online.