Good news! China has a tourism law

Fenghuang Township in central China’s Hunan Province.

The new tourism law, adopted by China’s top legislature on April 25, is good news for both tourists and businesses.

The long-awaited law, which had been in embryo for about 30 years and undergone three readings by lawmakers in the past eight months, is designed to address industry woes, protect tourists’ interests and foster the industry’s sustainable growth.

The national legislation is good news for tourists, who are usually at a disadvantaged position compared with travel agencies.

Under the new law, measures are outlined to address key problems — unfair competition, wanton price hikes, and forced goods purchases — which have plagued the industry and aroused strong public discontent.

The new law also lays down provisions to ensure tourists’ rights to know, choose, get aid, and be respected.

By making clear in law the legal consequences of violating the rights and interests of tourists, the cost for breaking the law will increase.

For regular travel agencies, setting legal curbs on business operations is good instead of bad news as it should deter unfair competition, improve the quality of travel services, and smooth the industry’s future development.

The new law could possibly lead to a reshuffle in the tourism sector. With illegal practices being phased out, the market is expected to return to a more healthy track of benign competition.

Incorporating tourism planning into legislation is another feature of the law.

The law devotes a whole chapter, or 11 articles, to the planning and promotion of tourism industry development, highlighting government support in terms of funding and personnel training.

The country’s tourism sector has undergone dramatic changes over the past decades. The domestic travel market has now grown into the world’s largest and the country ranks third globally in terms of tourists received from overseas.

Though China is now a big tourism destination for both domestic and overseas tourists, it is not yet a strong one.

The country is making efforts to improve the quality of its travel services, create a smooth path for the travel sector’s sustainable development and turn the sector into a pillar of economic growth.

To achieve the goals, the efforts to introduce this national legislation is totally worth its salt.

Though the new law is not expected to solve the tourism sector’s malpractices all at once, it could serve as an important legal platform for the sector to flex its muscles and take off from a new starting point.

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