Tourism authorities in China have been soliciting public opinions on a recently revamped draft management rule on border tourism, which aims to encourage cooperation between Chinese border areas and neighboring regions and countries to better develop border tourism.
The draft rule is based on the former State-level border tourism management regulation issued by the former China tourism administration (now the Ministry of Culture and Tourism), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security and the General Administration of Customs in October 1997. Border tourism specifically refers to organized group tours.
According to a recent notice by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the new draft rule has refined details around signing cooperative agreements on border tourism and clarified the requirements for setting up a border tourism agency, which has also improved the management of the border tourism market in terms of safety.
For example, border provinces or regions that are intent on cooperation are required to solicit opinions from central departments such as those of culture and tourism, foreign affairs and immigration before officially signing the cooperative agreements.
The approval requirements and procedures for setting up a border tourism agency are clarified in the draft rules. Individuals or companies that are intent on applying to operate border tours should reside within the border city or county and have at least two years of experience in running a travel agency.
Applicants mustn't have been involved in any accidents or have been punished by administrative departments for encroaching on travelers' rights in the past two years, according to the draft rules.
The new draft also lists behaviors that will result in the prohibition of people's entry to Chinese border areas for travel, including gambling, drug addiction or moving or damaging boundary signs.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that the former regulations don't cover the new situations the nation faces, though they did play a key role in facilitating the border tourism market and cultural exchanges between China and neighboring regions and countries.
For example, the establishment and approval procedures for border tourism agencies should be clarified and improper traveler behavior that would damage the nation's interests and image should also be regulated. The former regulation also had pitfalls that may let unqualified companies and individuals operate border travel activities without legal permission, the ministry said in the notice.
The ministry said that border tourism has stagnated in some areas due to unreasonable administrative procedures.
The public is encouraged to give advice on the draft rules before Sept 29. The former regulation will be abolished when the new draft rules take effect.