The tourism market in China still needs tough regulation as "mafia-like gangs" are active in certain areas, bringing disorder to some local tourism industries, a senior tourism management official said on Thursday.
"Although we have established coordination procedures among provinces and cities since the implementation of the Law of Tourism, we have to admit that a chaotic situation exists in some places," said Li Jinzao, director of the China National Tourism Administration. "In certain areas, there are even mafia-like gangs that have penetrated the tourism industry. If we allow this situation to deteriorate, then the responsibility is on us."
The Ministry of Public Security, China National Tourism Administration and State Administration for Industry and Commerce have vowed to regulate the tourism market jointly by combating unreasonably cheap trips with forced shopping, removing illegal criminal groups that violate tourists' rights, and prohibiting false advertising and unfair competition in the industry.
Unreasonably cheap trips with forced shopping are the main problem plaguing the tourism market, according to the tourism administration, which had received 154 valid complaints as of May 31.
Since May, nine inspection teams were sent to investigate too-cheap trips in different provinces, and three serious cases were found, said Peng Zhikai, head of the administration's supervision and management division.
"In Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, a tour guide confronted tourists with a kitchen knife because some of them didn't want to spend more. The tour guide's license was revoked," Peng said.
"We intend to give information on more of these cases to the media so that tourists can see the harm caused by these low-price trips with hidden traps," Peng said. "We will also have lists of good-quality tourism products to give tourists guidance."