BEIJING — As the Labor Day public holiday starts, Chinese travel agencies have a new right: to blacklist poorly-behaved tourists in an effort to prevent ill manners.
According to a couple of industry standards issued by the China National Tourism Administration (NTA) that came into effect on May 1, tour guides and leaders have the right to report on bad behaviors to authority.
The regulation comes amid growing concern about the ill manners of Chinese tourists both at home and abroad.
Tourists will be blacklisted for uncivilized behaviors such as acting antisocially on public transport, damaging private or public property, disrespecting local customs, sabotaging historical exhibits or engaging in gambling or pornographic activities.
Tourism authorities reserve the right to report such violations to public security, customs and transport authorities as well as the central bank’s individual credit department.
The new standards add more responsibility on tour guides, who are required by law to remind tourists of civilized behaviors, including the use of toilets. Tourists should be reminded to keep public facilities clean, use public products appropriately, and not to occupy the special facilities for the disabled.
“We would like to shoulder this responsibility, since it can help build a good image of Chinese tourists,” said Shen Zheyong, a tour guide with Beijing Caissa International Travel Service Co, Ltd.
From its first national tourism law in 2013 to today’s industry regulations, China is the first country in the world to include tourists’ behaviors in laws and regulations.
The ongoing “toilet revolution” launched earlier in January to improve the toilets at tourist sites that have long been complained of their insufficient numbers, unhygienic conditions, and lack of management, is another example of legal regulation.
China rolled out its first national tourism law in 2013 aiming to promote sustained industry growth. Tourist behavior is singled out in the law, which asked tourists to observe public order and respect social morality, respect local customs, cultural traditions and religious beliefs, care for tourism resources, protect the ecological environment, and abide by the norms of civilized tourist hebaviors.
China is the world’s largest outbound market since 2012, according to Madrid-based United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). In 2013, Chinese tourists spent $129 billion abroad, more than any other source market in the world, UNWTO said.
In 2014, the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad increased by 19.5 percent year on year to 109 million, nearly 13 times the level in 1998, topping a threshold of 100 million for the first time in history, according to NTA data.
“Even one individual tourist’s poor behavior will have global impacts,” said Yu Ningning, president of the China International Travel Services Co, Ltd., “The tourist industry and travellers should protect the global image of Chinese people in accordance with law.”