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China mulls tourism law to eradicate six loopholes (2)

(People's Daily Online)

09:04, September 14, 2012

Anti zero- or negative-fare tours (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

4) Tourists cannot safeguard their rights

Phenomenon: When tourists' legal rights are infringed, tourists usually do not have a place to lodge their complaints to or their complaints have no effect. Therefore, some tourists may carry out irrational right-safeguarding actions.

Case: During the Spring Festival golden week of 2012, some sea food restaurants, taxies and a few scenic spots charged extremely high prices for low-cost tourism service items. According to information written by Luo Di on the micro-blog of sina.com, "The three-people family of my friend had a meal in a sea food restaurant in Sanya and the family was charged about 4,000 yuan for three common dishes." At first, the information office under the municipal government of Sanya said that it did not receive a single complaint or tip-off in the food sanitation, business credit and other aspects during the Spring Festival golden week, but later, it, under a heavy social pressure, had to apologize, carry out an investigation and call the relevant people to account.

Draft tourism law: Every people's government above the county level should appoint or establish an organization of receiving and dealing with tourism complaints. When the organization receives a complaint, it should deal with it in time or transfer it to another relevant organization to deal with it and tell the complainer. The draft also stipulates that when the tourists have a dispute with the tourism business operator, the consumers' association, organization of receiving and dealing with tourism complaints and other relevant administrative departments should mediate the dispute between the two sides on the principle of reaching a consensual agreement.

5) Ticket prices rise arbitrarily

Phenomenon: The ticket prices of some scenic spot are so high that tourism has turned into a luxurious activity for low and middle-income earners. The situation of "the ticket price rising but the service level not" is especially not accepted by tourists.

Case: In order to control the ticket price rising, National Development and Reform Commission of China prescribes that scenic spots must adjust their ticket prices only once per three years. However, in every "price adjustment year," scenic spots always compete to raise their ticket prices. In first several months of 2012, more than 20 well-known scenic spots of China had raised their ticket prices with growth rates between 20 percent and 60 percent.

Draft tourism law: If a scenic spot wants to raise its ticket price, it should declare it six months earlier. A scenic spot cannot charge the ticket price unless it has obtained the approval from the relevant administrative department. Tickets prices of the scenic spots using public resources should be fixed by the government or under governmental guidance; other scenic spots should fix their ticket prices according to the market and their ticket prices should be put on record in the relevant administrative department.

6) Tourism safety accident

Phenomenon: Due to the fact that some tourists and tourism organizations have low safety awareness, lack relevant knowledge and qualities, violate relevant regulations or pay attention to only the economic benefit and offer disqualified tourism products, tourism accidents often occur, injuring tourists and leading to their economic losses.

Case: In March 2012, when two travelers were climbing Fenghuang Hill in Zhoukoudian, Fangshan District, Beijing, they fell off a cliff. Rescuers, after searching for them for more than 10 hours, found a survivor in Qingyin Valley, Zhoukoudian, but the other one was already dead when they found him. In 2009, an associate professor from North China Electric Power University Zhou also fell off a cliff and lost his life while climbing a hill in Fenghuang Ridge Park. The court judged that Zhou's death was caused by his own action and Fenghuang Ridge Park was not responsible for it.

Draft tourism law: Every people's government above the county level should bring the tourism emergency management into the governmental emergency management system according to laws, make emergency response plans and establish the tourism emergency response system. When an emergency occurs, the local government and relevant departments and organizations should carry out rescue measures and help the tourist return to the place of departure or the place appointed by the tourist. When the number of tourists reaches or exceeds the maximum capacity of a scenic spot, the scenic spot should report it to the local government and the scenic spot and the government should take such measures as evacuating and splitting the tourists in time. The tourists should cooperate with them.

Read the Chinese version: 旅游法将治六大乱象

Source:People's Daily Overseas Edition , author: Wang Jiayi and Xiao Lu

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