Two children look at red and yellow chrysanthemums at a park in Changchun, capital city of Jilin province, on Oct 2. (Photo by Zhang Nan/Xinhua)
At a time when the managers of scenic spots are bracing for swarms of tourists from across the country during the National Day "Golden Week" holiday, it has been revealed that some businesses in popular scenic spots have been charging tourists exorbitant prices for goods they peddle in a deceptive way.
According to a Xinhua News Agency report, some stores in Zhangjiajie, a tourist attraction in Hunan province, recently tried to sell what they claimed were health products to tourists with the help of promotion campaigns featuring some self-proclaimed "instructors" and "masters". These promoters of the products not only overstated the benefits of the products in aiding sleep and the treatment of diseases, they went so far as to promote their efficacy in driving away bad luck.
As National Day approaches, such fraud targeted at tourists, if not strictly cracked down on, will encourage similar malpractices aimed at tourists at other times. That most tourists at scenic spots are onetime customers emboldens the sellers in their activities and they have no worries about the consequences of tourists making complaints about them.
According to statistics, the Spring Festival and National Day holidays are the two golden weeks for such frauds and malpractices targeted at tourists. A report from the National Tourism Administration indicates that the tourism authorities handled 359 complaints nationwide during last year's National Day holiday.
The tourism authorities in Sanya, Hainan province, have set an example for other regions this year by publishing a document that encourages whistle-blowing about malpractices targeting tourists and offering whistle-blowers rewards of up to 150,000 yuan ($22,530).
It is necessary for the local tourism authorities to set up a rapid response mechanism to tackle frauds and malpractices prior to and during the Golden Week holidays. Preparatory supervision and covert investigations are needed and any wrongdoers should be severely punished.