No more ugly Chinese tourists, please

Updated: 2014-12-15 07:47

By Zhu Ping(China Daily USA)

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An AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Nanjing, Jiangsu province, wasforcedto return to the Thai capital on Thursday night after an unruly Chinese passenger threw a cup ofAn AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Nanjing, Jiangsu province, was forced to return to the Thai capital on Thursday night after an unruly Chinese passenger threw a cup of hot water at a flight attendant. This is not the first time that some Chinese passengers have exposed their ugly side on international flights. And this is not the first time that a handful of "ugly" tourists have given Chinese travelers a bad name.

Over the weekend, the National Tourism Administration said the four young Chinese passengers had been fined and will have bad credit record on the provincial tourism association. It's quite necessary for the authorities to put the "badly behaving" tourists on the "unwelcome list" from now on.

According to other passengers on the flight, two young men and two young women first demanded that the flight attendant make arrangements for them to sit together, later asked for hot water. After failing to get receipt for the water, a woman poured hot water at the attendant. Worse, one of the men threatened to "blow off" the plane, forcing the pilot to return to Bangkok.

But that was not the end of the "ugly" drama. When the four passengers eventually landed in Nanjing on Saturday night, they threatened to beat up airport employees after failing to get AirAsia to "clear their names", which led to the delay of a domestic flight. Irrespective of whether they were wronged or not on the AirAsia flight, the four passengers had no right to use force against the flight attendant and put public security in jeopardy.

The four passengers have dealt another blow to Chinese tourists' image, even though most of the Chinese tourists are well behaved and courteous. In fact, many other Chinese passengers on the AirAsia flight have criticized the quartet for their arrogant and violent behavior.

Chinese tourists made 98 million overseas trips last year, and the figure is expected to cross 116 million this year. Since the increase in the number of Chinese people traveling abroad has been phenomenal over the past decade, it is not possible to ensure every passenger behaves properly and doesn't overreact to an incident. But this problem is not typical to Chinese tourists alone, it is worldwide.

Last week, Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of Korean Air chairman, ordered a senior member of the crew off the flight, forcing the plane which was ready to take off from New York to Incheon in South Korea to return to the airport gate. The reason: a flight attendant had offered her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a plate. In response to simmering public anger, Cho Hyun-ah bowed deep in apology before being questioned by officials.

In a survey conducted by LivingSocial and Mandala Research two years ago, American tourists were ranked the world's worst, unfortunately followed by Chinese.

This should prompt Chinese tourism authorities to take strict measures to improve the functioning of the rapidly developing tourism market and properly handle the increasing number of people traveling abroad. The Tourism Law, enacted in October 2013, although aimed at regulating the tourism market by monitoring travel agencies, doesn't have any code of behavior for tourists.

Most of the Chinese tourists who exhibit "ugly" behaviors abroad "nurtured" them while traveling within the country. At tourist sites in China, it's not rare to see people carving their names on ancient relics or climbing up walls or statues. Some have made a habit to jump queues to book tickets or get up on trains and planes. Tourists are known to leave behind tons of garbage as "souvenirs" at the spots they visit. Often media reports highlight how Chinese passengers bullied flight attendants or airport employees because of delay in flights. And some have even rushed on to runways to stop planes ready to take off.

Such behaviors abroad can only give Chinese tourists a bad name. Chinese tourists should remember that their unruly behavior would only soil their country's image.

It's time for Chinese tourists to behave properly, starting from home.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily USA 12/15/2014 page12)