China targets bad tourist behavior ahead of Olympics

Updated: 2007-05-05 19:22

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.

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