Chinese tourists urged to behave
Updated: 2006-10-09 21:28

The government calls for Chinese tourists to improve their behaviour that was mostly ignored during the week-long National Day holiday from October 1 to 7, according to a commentary in Monday's China Youth Daily. (Commentary: Well-behaved tourists )

"The uncivilized behavior of many Chinese people can not be eradicated in just a few days - it needs long-term efforts," said the report.

The newspaper exposed the bad habits of Chinese tourists both at home and abroad during the past week and called on Chinese people to behave in a more civilized manner.

Some tourists visiting Tian'anmen Square during the holiday received a text message on their mobile phones from the administration committee of the Tian'anmen region to remind them to protect the environment of the square. However, on October 1 alone, around 600 sanitation workers collected 39.8 tons of garbage from the square.

At the ruins of the Yuanmingyuan - the Old Summer Palace - in northwest Beijing, many tourists were found drawing on the relics, said Zhang Peng, who works at the site. "It's hard to remove the inscriptions since that would damage the relics further," Zhang said.

At a scenic spot in South China's Hainan Province, tourists sat on the sandy beach enjoying the full moon on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 6.

But on the second day, it took sanitation workers a whole day to clear the rubbish left behind by the tourists.

Zhang Baiqing, an official of the government of Sanya City in Hainan Province, said the results of the government's campaign to improve tourists' behavior were not good.

"Some improvement has been seen among Chinese tourists traveling abroad, with less spitting and littering," said Li Xi, a Chinese travel guide in Paris. "But what annoys the locals most is that Chinese tourists always speak loudly and make noises in public," Li said.

The Civilization Office with the Spiritual Civilization Steering Committee and the National Tourism Administration jointly issued an etiquette guide on October 2 telling Chinese travelers to pay attention to everyday etiquette and hygiene while abroad.

Travelers are asked not to litter, not to talk loudly, to respect queuing rules, be polite in public places, and observe the rule of "ladies first".

Uncivilized behavior is becoming a real embarrassment for China as tourism continues to increase rapidly. Some experts attribute the uncouth behavior to Chinese people's lack of awareness of public property and selfishness.

Education in manners and etiquette has been strengthened in some kindergartens and primary schools in China. But experts believe it may take several generations to nurture civilized behavior and form a positive image of Chinese tourists.

Last year, Chinese tourists made 31 million trips abroad and 1.2 billion trips inside the country. The number is expected to leap to 100 million overseas trips by 2020.