China steps up governance of tourism sector with new law

INFORMATION disseminated by travel agencies to draw clients must be true and accurate, and travel agencies must provide a guide when organising or receiving tour groups – these and more rules governing China’s tourism industry are set to come into effect on October 1, buttressed in the country’s new tourism law that was adopted in April.

The full Tourism Law of the People’s Republic of China outlines the rights of tourists, provisions for tourism dispute settlements, the legal responsibilities of tourism stakeholders, as well as rules for planning, promotion and tourism operation.

Under tourism operation, the law stipulates that travel agencies are “prohibited from organising tourism activities and luring tourists with unreasonably low prices, or getting illegitimate gains such as rebates by arranging shopping or providing tourism services that require additional payment”.

Furthermore, tour guides are required to adhere strictly to the agreed-upon itinerary and are not allowed to stop services provided without permission. Asking for tips from tourists or luring, cheating, compelling or forcing tourists to make purchases or participate in activities requiring additional payment is also disallowed.

The contents of a contract for tour packages must also be explained to customers in detail.

Travel agencies which conduct business online must obtain a travel agency business licence and display it prominently on their websites.

The full text of Tourism Law of the People’s Republic of China can be found on the China National Tourism Administration’s website.

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