China plans to step up management of border travel market

A cross-border shuttle at Mohan Port in southwest China’s Yunnan Province on April 22, 2022. Photo: VCG

China is considering tightening border travel management, saying regions where many tourists have taken part in gambling could see border tourism activities suspended or even scrapped.

The announcement came as five departments, including the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said they were collecting comments for a revised draft policy on border tourism.

The project encourages border areas to create distinctive tourist destinations, clarifies that border travelers can flexibly choose ports of entry and exit, and simplifies previous documents for border tourism, according to the announcement posted on the official website. of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

He also clarified that border agencies should not organize tourist activities involving obscenity, gambling or drug trafficking.

If a member of a tourist group is punished for participating in gambling activities more than three times in a year, border tourist activities in the region would be suspended or even terminated, the draft document said.

If a member of a foreign tourist group illegally enters an area beyond the tourism cooperation agreement or illegally stays in China, the border agency should promptly report it to the public security and tourism departments, indicates the project.

Previous regulations, launched in 1997, did not adapt to the needs of the new situation, and some new problems that have been exposed in border tourism need to be regulated.

The problem includes uncivilized tourist behavior that harms the nation’s interests and image, the ministry said, adding that some unqualified units and individuals are illegally operating border tourism businesses.

Lack of compliance has long disrupted the sustainable development of border tourism, especially with regard to some illegal activities such as cross-border gambling under the guise of group tours, said Cheng Chaogong, a senior researcher at the Tongcheng Research Institute, at the GlobalTimes. In Monday.

“It is urgent for the government to launch updated measures to regulate the market,” Cheng added.

The Global Times reported in August that the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia received more than 20 requests for help from scam victims on the island of Taiwan and successfully assisted the Cambodian government in helping some of them. , after reports showed that some Taiwan residents were forced to register online. gambling, telecom fraud and other illegal activities, and they have been subject to movement restrictions in Cambodia.

Market insiders welcomed the proposed new regulations.

“They will have a positive significance for improving the convenience of border tourism and the richness of tourism products. For example, Xinjiang could become a cross-border self-driving hub for Central Asia, while Yunnan and Guangxi strengthen ties with Southeast Asian countries, and Heilongjiang will more effectively promote tourism in the Russian Far East,” Ge Lei, vice director of the CYTS Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday. .

Dai Bin, director of the China Tourism Academy, said the upcoming regulations will benefit cross-border tourist flows and travel agency business.

Border tourism has grown rapidly and has been the fastest growing segment of the outbound tourism market over the past two decades.

Cross-border travel between China and Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia and Russia is increasing year by year, Cheng said.

He pointed out that convenient transportation along the Belt and Road Initiative route also brings more border tourism, which will usher in a new stage of rapid development.

Willie R. Golden