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China: Airport prices still too high

Despite recent attempts by local authorities to cut prices of goods and services at the Pudong International Airport…

Despite recent attempts by local authorities to cut prices of goods and services at the Pudong International Airport, many travelers say it still costs far too much to grab a quick bowl of noodles or a drink before their flight.

Vendors at the airport, however, say they are already facing huge pressure from high business costs and are calling on the airport administration to lower rental rates.

Since the price cut, we haven`t seen more consumers, but out revenues have declined a little because of the lower prices, said a woman surnamed Li who manages the Shanghai Cafe at the airport.

A campaign by the Shanghai Price Bureau did see many prices cut, with the average cost of snack foods dropping 26.3 percent. The average price of instant noodles, for example, fell from 12.85 yuan (US$1.55) to 8.63 yuan.

The price order was made because complaints surged from travelers and the media about the unreasonable high prices at the airport, said Zheng Jian, a bureau official.

We told the vendors that they must have some categories of foods and drinks with price levels equal to other public places in the city, Zheng said.

The bureau targets six food and drink items during the campaign, with the price of carbonated beverages seeing the biggest decline, dropping 40.2 percent from 16.9 yuan to 10.1 yuan on average. Restaurants and cafes in the airport say they aren`t to blame for the high prices, noting they face higher business costs than downtown eateries.

The rental fee is very high in the airport and changes according to the ups and downs of passenger volume. The purchase cost of materials is also higher because we have to travel such a long way to buy goods, said an official surnamed Tong with Cang Lang Ting, another Chinese restaurant in the airport.

The restaurant pays a base rent of 420 yuan per square meter monthly. Li with Shanghai Cafe said if the airport lowers rental fees, owners would be quite willing to reduce food prices further.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.