New China tourism laws receive mixed reaction
CNATAIPEI -- Chinese tour operators have given mixed responses to a new tourism law that will take effect in China on Tuesday, with some saying it levels the playing field in the tourism industry, and others taking a wait-and-see attitude.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
One of the key sections of the new Tourism Law is a ban on group tours offered at rock bottom prices but laden with hidden costs in the form of shopping trips or visits to locations that require additional fees, according to a report published by China News Service (CNS).
Dun Jidong, a manager at Ctrip.com's operations in Beijing, said the new law will help create fair competition by weeding out rouge players in the tour sector.
He said the new regulation has not affected bookings at his agency for tours to Taiwan during China's National Day holiday, which lasts for a week, starting Oct.1.
Rapid growth of the Taiwan tour business is expected to continue since the overall costs will not rise too much, Dun said.
The new law allows for greater price transparency as any extra charges will have to be included in the price of the tour, he added.
Another Beijing agency, China Travel Solution, also said the new law has not affected its bookings for tours to Taiwan during the one-week national holiday.
So far, the number of people who have booked tours to Taiwan for the annual holiday is about the same as last year, said Qiao Fang, an employee at the agency.
“Those who want to visit Taiwan will still go,” although it may take some time for local consumers to get used to the new pricing system, she said.
Qiao said travelers as well as the tourism sector will benefit from the new law, which is expected to lead to better quality tours.
However, He Shixin, an assistant to the president of Shenzhen Junnan International Travel Service, said bookings at her agency for Taiwan tours during the weeklong holiday had fallen about 50 percent from last year.
“Travelers are waiting and watching; tour operators are waiting and watching as well,” she said, adding the cost of a tour to Taiwan in October is almost 50-percent higher than in September.
In response to the new law, the travel agency has set up a unit to design more unique tours to Taiwan, He said.
The number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan reached a record high of over 1.97 million in 2012, up 57.58 percent from the previous year, according to the CNS report.
Of that number, 1.78 million traveled in tour groups, representing an annual growth of 45.75 percent, the report said.