After a winter complained about a guesthouse in Shuangfeng Forest Farm in Hailin, Heilongjiang province, the local tourism bureau swiftly carried out an investigation and fined the owner of the guesthouse 59,000 yuan ($9,069) for fleecing tourists by charging exorbitant prices for rooms, services and food. Shenzhen News commented on Thursday:
The tourism authority's timely action is praiseworthy. Hopefully, its responsiveness stems from its resolve to maintain market order and not from a desire to hush up the incident, as now is the peak season for the local tourism industry.
The overcharging of tourists is probably not limited to that particular guesthouse, because the complaints in the article were echoed by some of its readers who had been to the snow town and shared their "memorable" experiences on social media.
Tourist spots in other provinces, including Hainan, Yunnan, Hunan, Shanxi and Shandong, have been mired in similar scandals in recent years.
Although the overall domestic tourism market is well regulated, if some bad apples are left untouched they will ruin the whole basket, seriously damaging the image of the domestic tourism industry and prompting more tourists to opt for trips to foreign countries; Chinese tourists made 300 million trips overseas last year, three times that of 2015.
Those in the domestic tourism industry should cherish a good reputation as it is one of the most valuable resources of all for tourist spots.
In recent years, Chinese visitors have flocked to Japan and many make repeat trips as they are impressed by the good order of the Japanese tourism market, and the kindness and politeness they have encountered even at the most popular sights have left a deep impression on many people.
The growing number of domestic tourist trips is a good trend, but the enthusiasm of Chinese people to travel and see the sights in their own country will be curbed if they feel they are being taken advantage of and their experiences are marred by rudeness, overcharging and cheating.