Yun­nan ranks 1st in tourism com­plaints

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By SU ZHOU suzhou@chi­nadaily.com.cn

South­west China’s Yun­nan province may boast five World Cul­tural Her­itage Sites, but its first-place rank­ing on the coun­try’s tourism blacklist and un­happy re­ports from visi­tors have been re­ceiv­ing more at­ten­tion re­cently.

The blacklist, is­sued by the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, is based on its mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem of news re­ports re­lated to scenic spots, travel agen­cies and tourists. Yun­nan ranked first in neg­a­tive media at­ten­tion in Jan­uary, April and­May.

Re­ports from the province in­cluded cases of tourists beaten at a scenic spot, tourists abused by tour guides and un­rea­son­ably cheap trips with forced shop­ping.

Other pop­u­lar tourism des­ti­na­tions on the blacklist were Bei­jing, the Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion and the prov­inces of Hubei, Hainan and Jiangsu.

Yun­nan province has long been noted for tourism dis­putes. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by peo­ple.com.cn, the province re­ceived the most com­plaints from tourists last year, ac­count­ing for nearly 25 per­cent of all tourist com­plaints na­tion­wide.

Ac­cord­ing to the Yun­nan Pro­vin­cial Com­mis­sion of Tourism De­vel­op­ment, most com­plaints (71 per­cent) re­lated to the re­turn of goods. Com­plaints about tour guide ser­vices and forced shop­ping ranked sec­ond, ac­count­ing for nearly 14 per­cent.

“For a long time, Yun­nan­was the leader in the eth­nic tourism mar­ket with a great rep­u­ta­tion and at­trac­tions. How­ever, in re­cent years, it saw more and more tourists, but failed to meet tourists’ de­mands,” said Zhang Guan­grui, honorary di­rec­tor of the Tourism Re­search Cen­ter at theChi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

“Fierce com­pe­ti­tion in the tourism in­dus­try trig­gered many prob­lems, in­clud­ing cheap tour groups with hid­den traps,” Zhang said.

The Yun­nan tourism au­thor­ity said it has been work­ing on reg­u­lat­ing travel prod­ucts, travel ser­vice providers and scenic spots. It re­cently started a spe­cial cam­paign tar­get­ing the jade and sil­ver tourism mar­ket that will last un­til Sept 30.

Zhang said one key is­sue is that tourism man­age­ment in Yun­nan failed to keep pace with de­vel­op­ments in the in­dus­try.

“Both the mar­ket and the con­sumers are not ma­ture,” Zhang said. “Con­sumers would pre­fer to choose those cheap trips in­stead of choos­ing re­li­able tour prod­ucts, while the mar­ket prefers to have more prof­itable prod­ucts in­stead of those that would help es­tab­lish rep­u­ta­tion and trust with tourists.”

Wei Xiao’an, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the China Tourism Leisure As­so­ci­a­tion, said the gov­ern­ment can­not be ex­pected to re­solve all of the is­sues and that tourists must be­come more savvy.

“Un­rea­son­ably cheap tours are one of the ma­jor is­sues in the in­dus­try,” Wei said. “How­ever, tourists should be aware that if a trip costs you noth­ing, you have to ex­pect that they will force you to shop.”

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