Top hotels in China have been suffering since President Xi Jinping declared that official banquets should be toned down. And today Premier Li Keqiang reiterated this stance.
"If the people are to have a good life, their government must be put on a tight budget," he said during his first press conference as premier. He made the pledge to cut spending on extravagance and use the money towards social welfare at a time of slow economic growth.
It seems officials had no qualms spending taxpayer money on lavish banquets, particularly for Spring Festival, and they were keen to outdo each other. Five-star hotels would charge about 5,000RMB per head, 3,000RMB on food, the rest on drinks, like maotai.
But now that banquet halls are quieter, the hotels have had to think of other ways to generate revenue, and so they are now pushing weddings and -- get this -- baby parties.
For a child's one year birthday, a large function room can be rented out, complete with tables of 10 and decorations like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, balloons and even entertainers like magicians and clowns.
Does a one year old remember its birthday? But in the land of the one-child policy, anything for the little emperor.
One wonders how long these restrictions will be in place as they can't continue forever... everyone has to make a living...
Which is why hotels are hoping this measure is a temporary one, but for how long is anyone's guess.