Opinion / Zhu Ping

No more ugly Chinese tourists, please

By Zhu Ping (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-15 08:02

Chinese tourists made 98 million overseas trips last year, and the figure is expected to cross 116 million this year. Since the increase in the number of Chinese people traveling abroad has been phenomenal over the past decade, it is not possible to ensure every passenger behaves properly and doesn't overreact to an incident. But this problem is not typical to Chinese tourists alone, it is worldwide.

Last week, Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of Korean Air chairman, ordered a senior member of the crew off the flight, forcing the plane which was ready to take off from New York to Incheon in South Korea to return to the airport gate. The reason: a flight attendant had offered her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a plate. In response to simmering public anger, Cho Hyun-ah bowed deep in apology before being questioned by officials.

In a survey conducted by LivingSocial and Mandala Research two years ago, American tourists were ranked the world's worst, unfortunately followed by Chinese.

This should prompt Chinese tourism authorities to take strict measures to improve the functioning of the rapidly developing tourism market and properly handle the increasing number of people traveling abroad. The Tourism Law, enacted in October 2013, although aimed at regulating the tourism market by monitoring travel agencies, doesn't have any code of behavior for tourists.

Most of the Chinese tourists who exhibit "ugly" behaviors abroad "nurtured" them while traveling within the country. At tourist sites in China, it's not rare to see people carving their names on ancient relics or climbing up walls or statues. Some have made a habit to jump queues to book tickets or get up on trains and planes. Tourists are known to leave behind tons of garbage as "souvenirs" at the spots they visit. Often media reports highlight how Chinese passengers bullied flight attendants or airport employees because of delay in flights. And some have even rushed on to runways to stop planes ready to take off.

Such behaviors abroad can only give Chinese tourists a bad name. Chinese tourists should remember that their unruly behavior would only soil their country's image.

It's time for Chinese tourists to behave properly, starting from home.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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