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Regulation seeks to strengthen supervision of online travel agencies

By Cheng Si | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-09 17:30
Tourists visit Fenghuang old town in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture, Central China's Hunan province , Oct 3, 2018, the third day of the week-long National Day holiday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Online travel agencies face stricter supervision under a draft regulation released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Wednesday that clearly defines their responsibilities.

The ministry said the online travel market had grown continuously in the past few years, making it easier for people to book tour packages, but the absence of strong supervision over the sector had led to encroachment on consumers' rights.

The regulation would ban online travel agencies from offering unreasonably cheap tour packages or using big-data analysis to price tour products to the disadvantage of existing customers.

Agencies should also publicize the process of reserving tour packages and travel services to users to make the process more transparent.

According to the regulation, agencies should not sell tour packages to users who refuse to provide their real names and ID information.

The responsibilities of platforms are clearly defined in the regulation. For example, they should sign contracts with users when tour packages are reserved, and they should recommend users purchase insurance before their trips to better ensure their safety.

The regulation is open for public comment until Nov 10.

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