Scenarios after the passage of the Tourism Law in China
Rules & Law
Fears of security threats and misunderstandings about foreign habits are well-known problems regarding Chinese people traveling abroad. As the international press has pointed out, the first tourism law ever issued in the People's Republic of China dates from this October and it touches upon, among other matters, the way Chinese tourists should behave. Article 13, chapter II, states: â€œTourists shall observe public order and respect social morality in tourism activities, respect local customs, cultural traditions and religious beliefs, care for tourism resources, protect the ecological environment and abide by the norms of civilized tourist behavior.â€ The purpose is to address heavy criticism that has rained down upon some Chinese tourists whose rudeness and bad manners were reported on by the media. For the most part, the articles contained in the new tourist law aim to eradicate perverse mechanisms rooted in the national tourism market, such as forced group shopping.
While these problems could be symptomatic of a travel market that has literally exploded during the past ten years â€“Chinese outbound travelers are expected to exceed 90 millions in 2013 â€“ tourism businesses in Western countries should also work to improve their hospitality standards towards this multitude of customers in an effort at mutual understanding. Having a safe and comfortable place where they can start each day, according to the customs of their homeland, could help Chinese tourists behave more responsibly towards the county that they are visiting.
In an effort to meet these needs, important hotel chains such as Hilton and Preferred have built up their own â€œChinese friendlyâ€ programs to pledge services such as Mandarin-speaking staff and electric kettles in the rooms. The Welcome Chinese project goes a little further, providing selected hotels with a certification issued by a branch of the Chinese Tourism Ministry. It officially recognizes the services that hotels guarantee to Chinese visitors, while offering the hotels themselves a wider visibility in the Chinese market. Relying on an authority they trust and choosing from among the hotels that it recommends could be another way to create more confident and sensitized tourists.