China and Hong Kong also saw huge tourism booms.
China and Hong Kong have enjoyed huge tourism booms in recent years. Reuters

China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang has contended the country’s reputation overseas is being tarnished by the “uncivilized behavior” of some Chinese tourists.

Wang made the remarks about the nation’s tourists during a teleconference held by the State Council, China’s cabinet, stressing that tourists need to be on good behavior when traveling abroad, according to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency.

Wang was referring to the poor manners and low “quality and breeding” of some Chinese tourists, saying they have harmed China’s international image, People’s Daily reported. “They speak loudly in public, carve characters on tourist attractions, cross the road when the traffic lights are still red, spit anywhere and [carry out] some other uncivilized behavior. It damages the image of the Chinese people and has a very bad impact.”

Wang made the statements while introducing the State Council’s newest tourism law, which was adopted last month. The new law, to be officially enforced by October, implements new measures to address such issues as unfair tourism competition due to state-owned monopolies and price inflation, long a sore subject for visitors to China and for local businesses.

The law also outlines the explicit rights that visitors have as well as the consequences of breaking such laws, making it more difficult for businesses to cheat tourists out of their money.

China’s tourism industry is booming. According to a Xinhua report, China’s domestic travel market has become the world’s largest, while the nation also ranks No. 3 in terms of volume of international tourists.

According to World Tourism Organization statistics, Chinese are projected to take some 100 million overseas trips a year by 2020. Last year, about 80 million citizens were estimated to have made international trips, while also spending roughly $80 billion.

However, Wang’s criticism came across as harsh to some Chinese. For example, one blogger said: “It’s not like everyone is like that. Plus, sometimes host countries are not welcoming. It goes both ways, you can’t generalize.”

Still, the underlying message from Wang is one that was meant to be encouraging, saying that tourists should act as ambassadors for the nation.

Wang offered some advice to Chinese travelers, telling them to “consciously obey social and public order and social morality, respect the local religions and customs, pay attention to their words and behavior in the public, especially in the international environment, protect tourism resources and protect the environment.”