BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- In the coming week-long National Day holiday, Chinese heading to foreign climes are not only cautious of choosing travel agencies over the usual dubious tourism practices, but now they are on the alert over another trap: fake tickets.
Yao Xiuli is scheduled to travel to Spain and Morocco with her husband for the holiday, which runs Oct. 1-7. She was reluctant to join a tour group due to bugbears about agencies' irregularities, especially after French reports of Chinese-held counterfeit tickets to the Louvre Museum in Paris.
"We chose to travel by ourselves to avoid being forced to go shopping, rush from one spot to another, and also the risk of fake tickets," said Yao.
In early September, French reports of possible Chinese tourist involvement in a batch of fake Louvre passes aroused great concern both home and abroad.
According to French daily Le Parisien, staff at the Louvre Museum last month began noticing several dozen Chinese tourists with counterfeit tickets, which were poorly and inconsistently printed.
It said that around the same time the tickets were discovered, Belgian customs officials alerted French authorities that they had seized about 3,600 counterfeit Louvre tickets hidden in a package sent from China.
However, the ongoing investigation has not revealed whether the tickets were used or made for benefit by Chinese tourism agencies, nor whether the Chinese ticket-holders had any consciousness of their illegality.
Yu Ningning, president of the China International Travel Services Co., Ltd., told a Xinhua reporter that the use of the fake tickets by Chinese tourists does not necessarily mean they were made by Chinese.
"As an industry insider, I have no idea why such an incident occurred and I hope the local police can investigate the source of these tickets," Yu said.
The official also added that no such fake ticket incident has ever happened in Beijing or China's famous tourist spots.
Tourism officials in north China's Shaanxi Province also said they had heard of no similar cases at local attractions such as the Terracotta Warriors, where electronic tickets are used. Moreover, counterfeit tickets had never appeared before the adoption of electronic tickets, according to the spot's tourism administration bureau.
Nevertheless, netizens on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo service said the Louvre case could tarnish the image of Chinese tourists and China.
"Most Western museums are nonprofit organizations with low prices and lax fare collection systems that operate on trust. This case has not only damaged the image of Chinese tourists, but also took a toll on such trust," said user Ge Lei in a post on his real-name Sina Weibo account.
The incident has reminded citizens of similar cases involving Chinese tourists' unseemly behavior. With stories of Chinese abroad bathing their feet in ceremonial fountains or leaving graffiti on historical monuments making headlines, Chinese authorities and travel agencies have begun to think of new ways to regulate tourism agencies and Chinese tourists as well.
The National Tourism Administration Office announced on Sept. 18 that it would strengthen management of tourism agencies abroad. Also, the nation's first tourism law, which will be fully implemented from Oct. 1, will help to rectify unruly behavior among both agencies and tourists. Those disobeying the law will receive legal punishment.
Residents in east China's Zhejiang Province told the Zhejiang Daily that their travel agencies have recently started requiring them to provide certificates attesting to their good manners.
"The certificate should be presented by employers or neighborhood committees. The tourists said that they were asked before overseas trips to sign a letter of commitment and pay a deposit guaranteeing good behavior," the official newspaper of Zhejiang said on its Weibo account.