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Can bad behavior database tame Chinese tourists?

(Global Times)    09:33, January 20, 2015

Chinese tourists have hit the headlines rather a lot lately, though not always for the right reasons. Angry passengers frustrated at flight delays have opened emergency exits and deployed escape slides on domestic airlines and on a Thai airline, one female tourist threw hot water and instant noodles over a flight attendant.

Never mind whether at home or abroad, unruly Chinese travelers have triggered an outcry from both within and outside China.

It is against this background that the country is considering compiling a national database of bad tourist behavior, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Referring to this database, airlines will carefully consider whether to sell a ticket to a tourist who has a record of bad behavior. To what extent this measure will deter unruly tourists remains to be seen.

China's sustained economic boom is the reason why so many Chinese people travel now, especially overseas. The number of Chinese tourists abroad has increased rapidly, and about 116 million are believed to have traveled abroad last year.

But at the same time, foreigners, and even Chinese compatriots have an image of the worst kind of nouveau riche when they see these tourists' vulgar behavior, such as spitting in the street, queue jumping and preferring shopping to sightseeing.

Perhaps it is because Chinese people haven't adapted to the fact that China has grown into a power with enormous influence and the whole world is watching it and its people. They haven't realized they should adapt to globally accepted standards of etiquette even after their behavior has dented the country's image.

Many foreigners label Chinese tourists as nouveau riche "peasants," while at the same time, they believe the coming of Chinese tourists is hardly a bad thing in difficult economic times. These mixed feelings, on the one hand, have prompted some countries to try every possible means to woo Chinese tourists. For example, Thailand offered free three-month visas to Chinese tourists last year and Chinese-speaking staff are hired in Europe's luxury stores.

But on the other hand, Chinese tourists can easily feel locals' grievances. In 2013, a German newspaper reported the story of a travel editor who was warned by a hotel about noisy Chinese groups. In 2012, Thierry Gillier, a French fashion designer, said he would not welcome Chinese tourists to his new Parisian boutique hotel.

As the Chinese are becoming worried about how they are being perceived abroad, they will surely feel annoyed by such "unfair" treatment. Perhaps the only way out is to learn some knowledge of the place before they go and always bear in mind that they need to behave well.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wang Ao,Bianji)

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