Hainan asks for 10 years to 'improve'

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-23 07:30
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Under heavy criticism from the media and the public, Hainan's top official said he felt like he was "being grilled on fire" and promised to make amends within the next 10 years, China News Service reported yesterday.

Hainan asks for 10 years to 'improve'
Waste paper from firecrackers set off by tourists on the night of Feb 13, the eve of the Chinese New Year, remains scattered on the beach the next morning in Sanya, Hainan province. [China Daily]

Due to the unreasonably high hotel rates during the Spring Festival holiday last week, media reports lashed out at the island province, highlighting its shortcomings like poor services at the hotels and tourist attractions.

Hainan provincial Party chief Wei Liucheng said: "After reading those reports and netizens' posts, I felt as if I was being grilled on fire."

Hainan asks for 10 years to 'improve'

However, the reports and public feedback have set the momentum for the improvement of Hainan in the future, he added.

Wei said the reports opened his eyes to the problems that plague Hainan's tourist industry.

"Government officials must not get angry at these reports. Instead, efforts should be stepped up to change the situation," he said.

Media reports concerning Hainan during the Spring Festival holiday would be downloaded and copies would be sent to major provincial officials for reference, he said.

Calling on the public to be understanding and patient, he said: "We have just started to build Hainan into a top international destination. Please give us more time."

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Hainan recently announced plans to become a top international tropical resort by 2020. At a press conference in January, Governor Luo Baoming said the province faced an uphill struggle due to persistent problems with tourists being swindled, sold fake goods or encountering lamentable services.

The top task for Hainan to develop into an international tourist resort is to clean up the market environment, he said.

The province plans to set up a long-term process to tackle problems like poor services, overcharging or "dumping" of tour groups deemed unprofitable, he said.

Measures include levying penalties on malpractice and to provide more training of staff.

The tourist department handed out the first such penalty on Jan 3.

Guide Zhang Chao dumped 11 tourists after they refused to pay fees for "optional" tourist sites on Dec 18, 2008.

The provincial tourist department found Zhang violated a contract under which tourists could choose not to visit the optional sites. Zhang was also found to have changed travel routes to extract higher commissions.

Zhang was fined 20,000 yuan ($2,900). The travel agency Zhang worked for, Baozhong Travel Agency, also had its business license revoked.

China Daily