by SU ZHOU, Travel Impact newswire
Tourism authorities will urge travel agencies to monitor tour groups and will explore the use of personal credit reports to identify possible offenders in advance.The move comes after four Chinese travelers poured hot water on a Thai flight attendant and triggered public outrage online.The China National Tourism Administration released a statement asking all provincial tourism authorities and travel agencies to help regulate tourist behavior.
“This incident disrupted the flight and other passengers’ schedules by forcing it to return to Bangkok. … They were all punished,” the statement said.
“Despite this being an isolated case, it damaged the overall image of Chinese people,” it said.
The administration said it will ask provincial tourism authorities to note the incident in the four tourists’ personal credit reports.
Wang Yanyong, director of the Tourism Development and Planning Research Center of Beijing Jiaotong University, said stopping such behavior requires the help of travel agencies as well as tourists themselves.
“Before the trip, tour guides need to alert tourists about their behavior and the consequences of breaking local laws and rules,” Wang said. “The urgent introduction of personal credit reporting is needed in the tourism industry. The reports needs to be shared with certain departments, such as visa application centers.”
Air Asia flight FD9101 from Bangkok to Nanjing was forced to turn around about 90 minutes after taking off on Thursday because two Chinese passengers created a disturbance.
Social media posts from witnesses of the incident said one man threatened to blow up the plane, and a woman sitting next to him yelled about jumping out when they didn’t get satisfactory service.
According to the statement from the airline, after the plane returned to Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, the woman and three other passengers were removed and taken to the airport police station.
By 6 pm on Sunday, 92 percent of Chinese netizens responding to an online Sina poll about the incident called it “humiliating”.
China has the fastest growing outbound tourism in the world. As of the end of November, 2014 had logged 100 million outbound tourists, nearly 90 percent of whom traveled to Asian countries and regions.
Zhang Lingyun, deputy dean of the tourism college at Beijing Union University, said the personal credit report idea should be carefully analyzed so as to set reasonable standards for what constitutes “inappropriate behavior” and how to punish offenders without violating personal privacy or harming the industry.