Urinating on the streets of Hong Kong? Hurling hot water at flight attendants? Stealing wood from Lovers’ Beach in Thailand?
These are the kind of mainland-Chinese tourist antics that the motherland is looking to stub out ahead of the week-long national holiday known as Golden Week, when throngs of citizens travel both domestically and abroad.
To help them do so, the China National Tourism Administration and one of China’s dominant online travel firms, Ctrip.com International, are teaming up to find model tourists to promote travel behavior worthy of emulation—and national recognition.
“Civility of Chinese tourists is an important indicator of a country’s soft power and one of the major ways to export a country’s influence,” the tourism administration’s Vice Chairman Wang Xiaofeng said at an event announcing the campaign.
The two organizations, along with state-run newspaper China Daily, are asking the Chinese public to provide examples of what they think is model traveler decorum. Ctrip will give gifts to exemplary participants, such as free travel products and company souvenirs, said Ctrip senior director of investment relations Zhou Shiwei.
“The campaign is about changing the perception of Chinese travelers,” he said. “We definitely want Chinese travelers to be well-received abroad.
”Examples include pictures of Chinese soccer fans who picked up trash in Seoul, even after the Chinese men’s team lost to South Korea earlier this month, or photos of Chinese tourists patiently waiting in line.Ctrip says the campaign is aiming to publish a compilation of guidelines and pictures suggested by Chinese netizens during Golden Week. Chinese tourists can upload pictures via Chinese social-media network Weibo, and to the China Daily website. It is unclear how the photos will be verified.More than 600 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad in the next five years, as China’s middle class grows and visa restrictions ease in some countries welcoming Chinese spending. Last year, about 120 million Chinese traveled overseas—10% more than in 2014, according to the national tourism administration.
Domestically, tourism generated about $620 billion last year, with more than four billion trips taken.
The campaign, entitled “Good Chinese Tourists,” is an addition to other recent efforts the government has put forth to curb travel misbehavior. Last year, it unveiled new measures that allow authorities to track the bad habits of wayward tourists for up to two years.
The tourism administration also recently published a guidebook on civilized tourism, in which it urges tourists to refrain from spitting and littering—common practices back home—and to take photographs only where permitted. “Do not chase, beat or feed animals,” it adds. “Do not be greedy with complimentary items.
”For traveling abroad, the guide includes recommendations that cutting in line is “shameful wherever you are” and suggests that tourists “not leave footprints on toilet seats.”