For Chinese who habitually travel during the weeklong May Day holiday, they
may find this year's itinerary involves as much etiquette education as
sightseeing, delicious food and shopping.
"On our first day in Beijing, we were repeatedly told by the tour guide not
to litter and spit and given pamphlets about what to do and what not to do,"
said Luan Hong, a tourist from southeast China's Fujian province.
Posters telling travelers how to behave appear in almost every train station,
bus stop, hotel and scenic spot. "We are treated like little kids," Luan said.
Tourists' grumbles mean little to officials who are anxious to correct the
embarrassing habits of Chinese travelers ahead of next year's Olympics Games.
And there is no better opportunity of doing it than the May Day travel spree,
when an estimated 150 million Chinese will be on the road.
The China National Tourism Administration has issued a circular, making
travel agencies and tour guides responsible for correcting tourists' bad
behavior during the holidays.
Jumping the line, spitting, littering and clearing one's throat loudly in
public are some of the frequently observed practices among Chinese travelers,
according to a guideline prepared and released last year by the Spiritual
Civilization Steering Committee (SCSC) of the Chinese Communist Party, the
official etiquette watchdog.