China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang in May 2013 acknowledged that "uncivilised behaviour" by its citizens abroad was harming the country's image. He cited "talking loudly in public places, jaywalking, spitting and wilfully carving characters on items in scenic zones". Destination countries have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have emerged of complaints about etiquette.
Parisians issued advice on how to deal with Chinese tourists
Paris, one of the world's major tourist destinations for Chinese tourists, has issued new information to advise its citizens on how to deal with Chinese tourists.
"A simple smile and a greeting in their language satisfies them completely," the guide issued by the Regional Tourism Council of the Paris Chamber of Commerce reads. "Rouanne ing gouang linne" is how it tries to explain the intricacies of saying "welcome" in Chinese.
"They are avid shoppers of luxury brands," it explains the habits of the one million Chinese who visit the French capital every year. "They are picky about food and wine. They appreciate ingenious shopping suggestions," it notes.
The guide titled Do You Speak Touriste? helps Parisian hoteliers and taxi drivers, known for their rough charm, with audio files on how to ask non-French speaking tourists about their desires. The guide also includes 10 other nationalities.
Fewer Chinese tourists are coming on organised bus tours, as 84 per cent now visit the city individually.
The average Chinese tourist spends six to seven nights in the most visited city in the world and forks out 171 euros (HK$1,738) per day there - that is 31 euros more than the average American and 15 less than the average Japanese.
The city, however, has run into difficulty trying to attract more middle class Chinese tourists.
A sharp increase in robberies of Chinese tourists in Paris has prompted calls to boost security in the capital. Muggings had increased 10 per cent over the last year, a consular official told the South China Morning Post in May.
Last autumn, a Parisian hotelier caused outrage when he said his hotel would not serve Chinese tourists, because of their bad manners.
In an interview in late September, Thierry Gillier, the founder of French clothing firm Zadig & Voltaire, said of the company's plans for a new exclusive hotel in Paris, “we are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example.”
He has since apologised.
Despite this, most Chinese remain enchanted with the city of lights. Almost 47 per cent of visitors from China say they wish to return to Paris within two years, according to the tourism council.