From the Chinese Press
Updated: 2013-10-10 07:24
Govt must meet tourists' needs
Chaos ruled the Jiuzhaigou Valley nature reserve in Sichuan province during the National Day "Golden Week" holiday as thousands of tourists demanded refund for their tickets. Although regulations and measures have been in place for years to regulate people's behavior and safeguard tourists' rights, chaos and overcrowding seem to have become the order of the day at tourist sites, especially during national holidays, making visits to scenic and historical places more of a test of patience for tourists, says an article on xinhuanet.com. Excerpts:
Public holidays should be a time for leisure, a time when people spend money to enjoy a break from their humdrum life and, in the process, boost the economy. But the government's holiday arrangements seem to reverse the order by overtly emphasizing public consumption while neglecting the arrangements needed to ensure that people enjoy their holidays.
Because of the limited number of public holidays, the two "Golden Weeks" offer the only chance to ordinary people to take a long break from work. As a result, the two holiday weeks have become more of a nightmare given the massive traffic jams, poor public services, rising costs and overcrowding at tourist sites.
Moreover, because of the widening gap between employers and employees, and lax law enforcement, many workers cannot even get paid leave.
Getting paid leave is the right of every worker. Holidays for workers should be a pleasure, not a penance. The government has to make foolproof arrangements in order to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy a true (and much needed) break from work.
Uncivil behavior mars holiday
The National Day holiday was marked by unruly behavior of tourists. For example, at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing alone tourists left behind 5 tons of garbage after watching the flag-raising ceremony on Oct 1. Some tourists even climbed the relics of the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, disregarding the warnings. Such "uncivilized" behaviors of tourists have become a matter of social concern, says an article in Yanzhao Evening News. Excerpts:
Tourists must respect local cultures, follow the tourism industry's rules and not do anything to damage scenic or historical sites. The authorities, on their part, need to take measures to educate people about tourism ethics and the importance of following rules.
Public education and measures to regulate peoples' behavior will not only help protect tourist sites, but also prevent chaos. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, many nouveau riche Taiwan tourists visiting the US and Europe became notorious for their bad habits such as spitting on and littering the streets, shouting in public places, and jumping queues. The tourists changed their habits only after Taiwan authorities took measures to educate them about civic rules. Perhaps the Chinese mainland authorities should take similar measures to bring order to the domestic tourism industry.
Also, travel agencies and scenic spot managements should publicize the crowd holding capacities of tourist sites and take proper steps to protect tourists' rights and the environment.
(China Daily 10/10/2013 page9)