Fleecing thrives on weak oversight

Source:Agencies Published: 2013-2-18 22:13:02

When a recent CCTV news program uncovered tourists being ripped off in Hainan Province, local authorities were quick to investigate and revoke the license of the travel agency involved. Yet, it remains to be seen whether officials at this vacation hotspot can really root out the practice of fleecing tourists when just last year the local government vowed to do the same after microblog posts exposed restaurants and tourist attractions gouging travelers.

It has become the norm when something is brought to light by the media for authorities to investigate and punish offending parties. Yet, when the media storm passes, tourists will once again fall prey to over-priced food and services. This kind of response is not conducive to Hainan's long-term tourism development.

The time has come for the Hainan government to revamp its tourism industry. A comprehensive system is needed to make sure that unscrupulous travel agencies and tour guides get what's coming to them. Officials should also conduct random checks at popular travel sites to ensure that tourists' rights are protected.

The author is Zhang Fengyi, a news commentator.

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