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New rules put heat on naughty tourists

Su Zhou
Updated: Aug 3,2016 7:54 AM     China Daily

Chinese tourists on the country’s blacklist because of uncivilized behavior will face restrictions when taking flights, joining travel groups or even taking overseas trips, under a revised draft of travel regulations released on Aug 1.

Provincial and national tourism authorities can maintain records and share them with the public, travel agencies and industry organizations. Records can also be shared with government agencies responsible for public security, customs, inspection and quarantine, border protection, transportation and finance.

“Punishments can be imposed by travel agencies or other related agencies or organizations based on the record,” according to the revised draft, which is in its public comment phase.

A few ugly incidents involving Chinese tourists have triggered negative reactions. The China National Tourism Administration introduced a measure in April 2015 to regulate tourist behavior by keeping records of bad behavior. So far, 19 people have been named.

According to the administration, examples of bad behavior include violating order on public transportation-including flights-damaging public facilities or historical relics, ignoring social customs at tourism destinations and becoming involved with gambling or prostitution.

Chinese tourists have long been asked to dress modestly in public, to avoid coughing in other people’s faces and avoid pressuring foreigners to stand for photos with them.

Liu Simin, vice-president of the tourism branch of the China Society for Futures Studies, said the blacklist may not work as effectively in practice as it was envisioned to do.

“It is not that difficult to introduce restrictive measures on flights,” Liu said. “However, if tourism authorities want to restrict blacklisted tourists from traveling overseas, they can only do this through travel agencies. If travelers plan their own trips and skip the agencies, they’re out of reach.”

Besides uncivilized behaviors, the proposed regulation addresses some of the public’s major concerns in recent years, including tourism security, hidden traps set up by travel agencies and false information presented on travel websites.

For outbound travel groups, the revised draft requires people to carry an information card filled out with personal information, disease history and emergency contacts.

Zhang Hui, who works at an advertising agency in Shanghai, said to fully protect tourists’ safety and rights, the government should do more after revising the regulation.

“I am very pleased to see the new draft support us in getting a refund if we are forced to purchase goods during a trip,” she said. “However, it may be very difficult for tourists to prove that the tour guide pressured us to buy. We can’t always take videos or make recordings.”

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