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Chinese tourists urged to get rid of bad habits

2006-05-05

Some Chinese tourists are being warned that while their bad social graces such as spitting, slurping food and jumping queues may merely disgust people at home and they are sometimes not at all tolerated in other countries. Zhang Xiao was warned about this by his travel agent as he prepared for a holiday that would take him to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand during the week-long May Day holiday. A tip card sent by the travel agency reminded him that chewing gum is forbidden in public in Singapore and that he should wear long trousers and a shirt with sleeves during visits to temples and the palace of Thailand. "I've read the tips on the card carefully. We are representing the image of China when traveling abroad, it's our responsibility to improve our manners," said Zhang, who was getting ready for his third trip abroad. The increasing number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad may be a huge new source of income to destination countries, but that won't prevent complaints against individuals from reflecting badly on all of China. The media in Singapore reports that hotel staffs are upset with Chinese tourists spitting in their rooms and smoking in bed. The hotels have had to shampoo the carpet after and replace bed linen after a Chinese tour group passed through. Singapore airline companies also criticized Chinese tourists for talking loudly and being very rude. Even Hong Kong newspapers have pointed out that some mainlanders lack manners and social graces. During the week-long May Day holiday this year, tour operators in Shanghai alone have organized 1,227 group tours with more than 20,000 tourists for travel overseas. Tourism bureaus in Anhui, Sichuan and Chongqing required local travel agencies to not only protect the safety of tourists but also ensure their clients they take overseas travel with manners. In many places in Europe and North America, eating with an open mouth or lip smacking can be an instant turn off. European hosts, friends or even people at the next table might be disgusted by what they perceive as a such a lack of table manners and even think that Chinese are rude. Ge Yucui, a tourist guide for the Kanghui International Travel Agency in Anhui Province, said she checked the laws and regulations and local customs before the tour to the Republic of Korea. "We organized meetings and sent tip cards to the members of the tour," Ge said, adding that "the guides play an important role in helping the tourists get rid of bad habits." Sun Jing, a member of the tour, said the tip cards helped him better understand how to behave when traveling abroad. However, travel agent Ge Yucui said Chinese travelers still have a lot of travel etiquette to learn. Enditem

(Source:Xin Hua News, 2006-05-05)