Chinese tourists travelling abroad will soon have access to an etiquette guidebook offering advice such as "no spitting," "no littering" and "do not speak loudly in public."
The guidebook, part of an educational campaign launched last month by the Spiritual Civilization Steering Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, aims to help correct some embarrassing habits of Chinese tourists at home and abroad.
The guidebook will be based on public input currently being gathered through letters and e-mails concerning how travellers should behave.
Zhai Weihua, the committee's deputy director, said on Friday in Beijing that the campaign had received a "favourable" response, with more than 30,000 letters and emails flooding in listing inappropriate behaviour and offering suggestions for the guidebook.
Meanwhile, at least 3 million people have visited the committee's website for campaign details.
"It's expected that the guidebook would be published by year's end," he said.
China's tourism industry has developed rapidly in recent years. Figures from China's National Tourism Administration (CNTA) show that there were 31 million outbound travellers and 1.2 billion domestic trips last year.
The number of outbound travellers is expected to reach 100 million by 2020, making China the fourth-biggest source of tourists in the world. "But the behaviour of some Chinese travellers is not compatible with the nation's economic strength and its growing international status," Zhai said.
In May, Xinhua cited Singapore media reports of airline and hotel staff complaining about Chinese tourists spitting, talking loudly and being rude.
There have also been complaints that Chinese often clear their throats loudly, jump queues, take off shoes aboard planes and trains, and squat and smoke in public places while travelling abroad.
The committee said such behaviour has damaged "the image of China as a civilized country" and generated "negative attention overseas."
Central governmental departments involved in the campaign such as the CNTA, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Construction and the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, also attended Friday's conference, expressing their full support.
CNTA head Shao Weiqi said travel agents and tour guides should take responsibility for educating tourists on etiquette matters and the guidebook will be provided with tickets.
Zhang Yuan, a Beijinger who plans to go to France for a one-week holiday, said the campaign is timely. She welcomed the provision of a guidebook.
"To learn some social conventions and etiquette in foreign countries is good for China's image and also a method of self-improvement," she said.
The campaign will last until the end of 2008, when Beijing hosts the Olympic Games.
Source: China Daily