China's first tourism law became effective on October 1, the day the Golden Week public holiday began. The government had approved the 112-article law in April. Now, travel operators in the country are under pressure to follow strict guidelines. The new law aims to promote civilized tourism among Chinese.
Travel agencies in China increase prices
The law addresses several issues, such as unfair competition, tourist safety, behavior, and forced shopping trips, among others. It will also help sustain industry growth. After the law came into effect, travel agencies in the country raised their prices. International and domestic long-distance tourism products have seen heavy increases in prices over the past few weeks as the effective date for the tourism law approached.
Experts say the law will help regulate the industry in the long-run. The rapidly growing Chinese tourism industry has exposed several malpractices and immoral behaviors. Travel agencies and guides breaking the law may face up to $49,000 in penalties.
Karla Cripps of CNN says that the new law basically deals with domestic tourism; some sections of the law cover the rights of international travelers coming to China, as well. Last year, China overtook the United States as the world's biggest tourism spender. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the Chinese spent more than $102 billion on international tourism.
China widely criticized abroad
However, Chinese travelers have received widespread criticism for their immoral behavior in other countries. So, Wang Yang, Vice Premier of Asia's largest economy, urged Chinese tourists to improve their behavior to project a good image of China in other countries. Earlier this year, Chinese travelers became the center of criticism after a Chinese tourist was found defacing a stone sculpture in one of the ancient Egyptian temples.
Later, China's National Tourism Administration issued a "Guidebook For Civilized Tourism" to instruct its people how to behave while traveling overseas. It teaches Chinese tourists to respect social morality, religious beliefs, cultural traditions and the ecological environment. The Guidebook also teaches tourists not to urinate, defecate, spit or litter in inappropriate places.