People enjoy the barbecue in Zibo, Shandong province, on Sunday. The previously lesser-known city became a tourism hot spot after videos of its barbecue went viral online. (CAO BOYUAN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
A handful of Chinese cities have issued warning letters regulating market prices for catering and accommodation in a bid to ensure tourists have pleasant and reasonably priced holidays, particularly during the upcoming May Day holiday.
Local authorities in Zibo, Shandong province, have released measures to control accommodation price increases around the five-day holiday that starts on April 29, as the city is seeing a huge influx of tourists to experience its local barbecue, which has been trending on social media for two months.
According to Meituan, a food delivery and hotel booking app, accommodation bookings in Zibo have increased ninefold compared to 2019.
Hotel operators will be investigated and punished if increases in room prices surpass 50 percent of the average price of March, according to a notice released on Saturday by the city's development and reform commission, and the market regulation administration.
The notice came into effect on Sunday.
Zibo was on hardly anyone's travel bucket list before, but then its barbecue went viral after some college students took videos of themselves enjoying the food and posted them on social media.
Besides Zibo, other popular tourist cities like Changsha in Hunan province and Quanzhou in Fujian province have also recently required transparent pricing during the May Day holiday.
The market supervision authority in Dali, Yunnan province, a popular tourist destination in the country, has required that no additional fees be charged beyond the marked prices.
Nationwide, data from online travel agencies showed that around 200 million trips will be taken during the holiday this year, exceeding the pre-coronavirus level for the same period in 2019.