Two top-rated tourist attractions had their accreditation removed after more than 30 undercover investigations were taken at 20 scenic spots.
The China National Tourism Administration said on Aug 3 that it has removed the 5-A scenic spot rating of Orange Isle in Changsha, Hunan province, and Shenlong Gorge in Chongqing over security concerns, overpricing, poor environmental management and poor facility maintenance, as well as bad service mainly resulting from a lack of staff members.
“For example, it took more than a week for a tourist to book a tour guide in the Orange Isle scenic spots,” said Peng Decheng, director of the National Tourism Administration’s planning and finance department. “In Shenlong Gorge, tourists didn’t receive safety reminders from staff members when sitting on drifting boats.”
The administration also issued serious warnings to three 5-A scenic spots in Anhui and Fujian provinces and required rectification.
Peng added that ratings will keep changing based on inspections.
China uses a five-tier tourist rating system based on criteria such as the importance of the site, transportation and sanitation. The highest rating has to be award by the administration, while lower ratings can be given by provincial tourism authorities.
Dai Xuefeng, director of the Tourism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that in the past, 5-A scenic spots that didn’t perform well would only receive warnings or be downgraded.
“Many scenic spots that felt secure shifted their focus from management to making profits,” Dai said.
In October, Shanhaiguan Scenic Spot in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, lost its 5-A rating, the first time this had happened.
“Sightseeing will be the mainstream of China’s tourism for a long time. Urging scenic spots to provide better service is the best way to protect tourists’ rights,” Dai said. “And we can see that after losing its 5-A rating, the management of Shanhaiguan Scenic Spot has improved greatly.”