Apparently having had endured enough accounts of bad behavior abroad by Chinese travelers abroad, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) announced that it will begin tacking the “uncivilized” behavior of Chinese tourists to create a “communications and accountability mechanism” that would have CNTA reporting the names of such individuals to tour operators, travel agents and other travel suppliers to help them determine whether it would be appropriate to sell tickets to tourists with a record of bad behavior while traveling.
Li Jinzao, chairman of CNTA, also said the tourism agency would publish photographs and videos of undesirable conduct by Chinese tourists as part of a national information campaign promoting “civilized” behavior. And, he explained, text messages would be sent to tourists when they arrived at their destinations, reminding them to observe good manners.
The action comes in the wake of recent episodes in which Chinese travelers have defaced priceless archaeological works, urinated in public, consumed endangered sea species, failed to observe the practice of queuing when traveling in groups and been involved in some highly publicized incidents of “traveler rage.” Just two months ago, in December, a group of Chinese tourists made a Bangkok-to-Nanjing Air Asia flight turn around in midflight and return to the airport after one of the group of four threw scalding hot water at flight attendant and another threatened to blow up the plane. During the same week, there were reports that another group of Chinese tourists had pushed over a barricade protecting a famous mural in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
All of these instances of rude behavior occurred despite the government’s best efforts to discourage it. In October 2013, CNTA published an information packet a 64-page Guide to Civilized Tourism and Travel. The guidebook featured helpful illustrations with captions such as: “Don’t spit phlegm or gum, throw litter, urinate or defecate wherever you feel like it. Don’t cough, sneeze or pick your nose or teeth in front of others.” The booklet also advised Chinese travelers not to: lie down in public, go out with disheveled hair and a dirty face, or remove one’s shoes and socks.
The speculation on the part of most U.S. travel suppliers is that the “uncivilized” behavior cited above will not disappear in the near future as more millions of middle-class, travel-ready Chinese make their first trips abroad. Unlike travelers from other large source-markets, Chinese do not have a long history of international travel; realistically speaking, the market is actually a little more than a decade old.