(Yicai Global) Oct. 11 -- As of yesterday, the Palace Museum -- also known as the Forbidden City -- officially initiated exclusively online ticketing.
Online channels will henceforth vend all 80,000 tickets available for purchase each day, and the on-site ticket windows will all close, Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum, said yesterday, as fawan.com reported.
Fully online ticketing means physical tickets will completely disappear from the historical landmark. Due to actual needs, ticket booths will remain open about 3 months to facilitate online purchases, then these vacant ticket offices will transform into venues offering other forms of consumer services, Shan explained.
On Oct. 2, the Palace Museum sold all 80,000 tickets for the day via the internet for the first time. With the full implementation of online ticketing yesterday, the museum has developed an on-site guidance scheme to help visitors who do not book tickets online, including QR code guide cards and information desks for ticketing services.
The Palace Museum will further enhance its management and, based on Big Data analysis, plans to initiate trial time-phased ticketing next year allowing visitors to select a specific admission time to avoid frequent overcrowding and enjoy a better cultural experience and visit.
For the past six years, the Forbidden Museum has promoted real-name online ticketing, a daily limit of 80,000 tickets and expanded visiting areas to ease congestion, Shan said. Following implementation of these measures, the ranks of annual visitors have swelled rather than shrunk, topping 16 million for the first time last year.
Commissioned by Ming dynasty progenitor Zhu Di in 1406 CE, construction concluded in 1420. Destroyed by a freak ball-lightning storm and resulting fire the next year (which also killed Emperor Zhu Di), it has since been rebuilt and destroyed again several times. It was the official residence of all imperial households in the Ming dynasty and its successor the Qing dynasty, until the latter fell in 1912 when Dr. Sun Yat-sen founded the Republic of China. China's last emperor, Aixinjueluo Puyi, deposed at the advent of the republic, lived on in the Forbidden city until forcibly evicted in 1924. It has remained unoccupied since, except by the many ghosts said to emerge to haunt it after the last visitor leaves.