The Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City, will expand the sale of online tickets on a trial basis in July.
After the trial period, the Palace Museum will decide whether to phase out the sale of paper tickets and sell all tickets via the internet. The all online sale may begin during the last 10 days of October.
By the May Day holiday in 2018, the museum may offer tickets for different periods throughout a day, in a bid to avoid too many tourists at a time.
Currently, tourists can only book tickets online in advance, but they have to buy paper tickets at the entrances if they want to visit immediately.
The Palace Museum began selling tickets online in September 2011. Currently about 50 percent of its tickets are sold online, with up to 70 percent booked online during holidays.
The Palace Museum started to set a daily visitor cap of 80,000 on June 13, 2015. The cap was triggered 32 times in 2015, 48 in 2016, and 10 in 2017.
Three steps to phase out sale of paper tickets
Phase 1: Preparation
Date: May - June
Starting from May, the museum will allow online selling of tickets everyday, after an upgrade of its online ticket selling system.
Phase 2: Trial run
Date: July - October
The trial will test the feasibility of online sales of tickets, but tourists can also buy tickets at the entrances. Tourists can also buy tickets by scanning a QR code at the entrances.
Phase 3: Implementation
Date: From last 10 days of October
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