China Tourism Industry Complaint Analysis

Nowadays, with the continuous booming of tourism industry in China, as well as the enhancement of tourists’ awareness of consumption and rights guarding, increasing tour complaints become a sensitive issue to both the China tour operators and tourists. Analyses on China tourism industry complaints may help you to have a general idea of tour complaints in China.

In the year of 2019, altogether 29,772 valid complaints were received, rising by 264.2% in comparison with the last year. Among them, 23,914 complaints were settled and followed up on, accounting for 78.3%. In 2018, the number is 77.6%, so we can see that the overall China tour complaint handling level has been improved.

The Most Frequently Used Channels for Making China Tour Complaints

In 2019, most tourists tended to make complaints through websites and WeChat. 21,493 complaints were received via websites, while the rest 8,279 complaints were received via WeChat. A majority of tourists preferred to making complaints through official organizations and third-party platforms, such as the official websites and WeChat accounts of tourism bureaus, travel agencies, and online booking platforms. Besides, many tourists also made China tour complaints through social media like microblogs and WeChat Moments.

Which Months See the Most Tour Complaints in China?

According to relevant authoritative statistics, January and March in 2019 received most China tour complaints. In March alone, there were altogether 8,451 valid complaints, which marked the peak number. By the way, most complaints in March were related to the tickets booking issues during Chunyun, the Spring Festival Travel Rush in China from late January to early March. 

Which Subindustries See the Most Tour Complaints in China?

As the data shown, ticketing, hospitality, air services, and tourist attractions were the focus of tour complaints in China. In total, 22,627 complaints against online tour booking platforms were received, 4,477 against business travel services, 916 against air services, 1,417 against hospitality industry, and 335 against tourist attractions and travel agencies.

As tourists now rely highly on Apps related to tourism, disputes on such Apps become a major focus of tour complaints in China. The tourist Apps that have been complained about by tourists in 2019 covered all subindustries in tourism.

What Are the Causes of China Tour Complaints?

The typical causes include bundling sales, abuse of big data, refusing returning prepayment to consumers, price confusion, refusing refunding, arbitrary cancellation of booking order, contractual fraud, false advertising, forced consumption, charging in booking order change, and low service quality. 

Among all the tour complaints in China in 2019, there were 13,154 complaints related to the cancelation and change of booking orders, accounting for 44%. The complaints caused by bundling sales reached 2,692, occupying 7%.

Who Are More Likely to Make Tour Complaints in China?

As shown by the authoritative data, those born after 1995 are more willing to make tour complaints in China. In addition, males are more likely to make complaints than females.

Analyses on China Tourism Industry Complaints

1. Online Platforms Refusing Refund and Arbitrary Cancellation of Orders Are Prominent Problems

In recent years, some online tourist platforms charge high service fee for cancellation or otherwise refuse to refund. Sometimes, they just cancel booking orders arbitrarily or force tourists to change the order. This goes against the principle of fair bargain and violates the legal rights and interests of consumers. Such problems usually occur in online tourist platforms selling tour itineraries, hotel rooms, and airline tickets.

2. Bundling Sales Mainly Occur in Flight and Train Tickets Booking

With the implementation of the Electronic Commerce Law in China, the bundling sales problem in China have been eliminated to a large degree, but there are still online tourist platforms offering bundling sales in a more concealed way. Tourists booking flight and train tickets may have to book a ticket for tourist attraction or even a travel itinerary. What leads to this phenomenon? First, bundling sales are an important source of income for online tourist platforms. Second, the government lacks initiative in supervising the market.

3. Online Tourist Platforms Abuse Big Data

Nowadays, it’s quite often to see tourists complaining about the differences in tour product prices on online platforms. These online platforms abuse the big data and offer different prices to different clients according to their consumption habits. However, with the newly-enacted legislation, we can expect the decrease in such affairs.

4. Imparity Clauses Need Further Supervising

Among all the tour complaints of China in 2019, the cases that involved the key word “Imparity Clauses” amounted to 2,110. A majority of such cases were caused by the unfair terms regarding cancellation and refund policies of air tickets and hotels. In addition, the regulations like forbidding visitors to bring food into the park and rummaging visitors’ bags while entering have caused controversies for some theme parks including the Shanghai Disneyland Park.

5. Travel Agencies Need to Improve Service Quality

In 2019, the China tour complaints tagged with the key word “Travel Agency” amounted to 539. They mainly occurred because of the low service quality of travel agencies, which were embodied in the temporary price rise of hotels, traps in shopping tours, bundling sales, and the use of unqualified vehicles, drivers, and guides. It’s worth mentioning that some unqualified agencies and individuals now use social media to advertise their tour products and receive the payment directly by WeChat Pay, Alipay, and cash. As they don’t have qualifications and seldom sign contracts with customers, so customers are easily to be cheated. This is a new reason for complaints about travel agencies of China.

6. Hotels Are Apt to Reveal Customers’ Privacy and the Sanitary Conditions Are Poor

In the year of 2019, the China tour complaints about hotel revealing guests’ privacy reached 131, and the complaints about hotel sanitary conditions reached 309. In fact, it’s not rare to see hotels and third-party platforms revealing customers’ privacy in recent years. When booking a hotel online or checking in, customers may be asked to undergo some procedures like real-name registering, hotel membership acquisition, and customer satisfactory survey, whether necessary or unnecessary. During these data collecting, storing and using processes, customers often face a risk of personal information revealing.

In the past year, economic chain hotels have encountered a series of incidents focusing on poor sanitary conditions. Some of them even have been pointed out by consumers that they are using guest room towels to wipe the water closet. This has led to a large number of complaints and people’s distrust in hospitality industry.

Further Reading: Tourist Complaints in China

- Last updated on Dec. 15, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on China Tourism Industry Complaint Analysis
Asked by Foo from AUSTRALIA | Apr. 29, 2015 10:33Reply
Corruption in China's Tourism Industry
I have been conned buying some Chinese medicine during my recent visit to Zhangjiajie. The proprietor of the business told us he was backed by some officials. I wonder if there is still any point in lodging a complaint.
Answers (1)
Answered by Fred from SAINT LUCIA | Apr. 29, 2015 21:47

Foo, you might contact China National Tourism Administration and see if they can help you.
Tel:(0086-10) 65201114

And I also find the complaint hotline of Zhangjiajie Tourism Administration. You can give it a try.
Tel: 0744-8380193
Asked by cheah from MALAYSIA | Dec. 16, 2014 00:15Reply
Shanghai Complaint Board
I wish to have the email address for Complaint Dept for Shanghai Tourism Board.
Answers (1)
Answered by Charles from JAPAN | Dec. 16, 2014 21:55

Cheah, this is the complaint phone number of Shanghai Tourism Administration, 021-64393615/64391818-2502.
Asked by Long from AUSTRALIA | May. 30, 2014 19:25Reply
hi, I've tried dialling the Yunnan complaint line and its not in service, is it still operating?
Answers (1)
Answered by Luna from CHINA | May. 31, 2014 04:09

Oh, it is not operating now. You can dial 0871-96927 or 0871-64608315.
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