China will make travel agencies and tour guides responsible for Chinese tourists who are rude, dirty or generally behave badly in public to deal with an upsurge in complaints, a state newspaper said on Friday.
Millions of newly affluent Chinese have taken to foreign travel with gusto following years of near double digit economic growth, many going overseas for the first time in their lives, with Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea popular destinations.
Stories of badly behaved Chinese tourists often appear in Southeast Asian and Chinese newspapers, complaining of everything from passengers refusing to get off aircraft in protest at delays, to littering in public parks and spitting in hotel rooms.
"The National Tourism Administration demands travel agencies accept responsibility for educating and guiding tourists," the Beijing News said.
"Tour guides and travel agencies that are not able to take up this responsibility or continually create a bad impression will be criticised, educated and ordered to reform," it said, without mentioning fines or other punishments.
The report said that more than 100 travel agencies had signed up to "declare war" on uncivilised behaviour, which included spitting, talking loudly in public, queue jumping, smoking in non-smoking zones and wearing inappropriate clothing.
The growing complaints lodged against Chinese tourists by both their own compatriots and foreigners was getting embarrassing, and that had forced the authorities to act, the newspaper said.
It cited examples of passengers who constantly demanded beer on flights and of restaurants in Thailand which put up no-smoking signs only in the simplified Chinese script used in mainland China as cases which showed how serious the problem was.
(CRIENGLISH.com via Reuters August 25, 2006)