CHIANG MAI – A Chiang Mai University’s Social Research Institute survey suggests the city’s residents consider Chinese tourists a nuisance they could live without.
The research institute conduced the survey online using a questionnaire as well as data collected via an online social network.
The target group included people who used Facebook from 4 to 10 February 2014. There were 2,220 respondents all residents of the northern city.
The results did not come as a surprise as most cities that find themselves overwhelmed with Chinese tourists voice similar criticism.
The survey showed 80% of respondents thought Chinese tourists were a nuisance to the community. They claimed Chinese tourists are noisy, refuse to queue, push other people, smoke heavily in public places and ignore simple hygiene. They spit and dump garbage the survey respondents complained.
If that was not enough, Chinese tourists often disregard regulations at tourist attractions, public places, and official places even on the university campus.
In addition, 70% of respondents said they would prefer to enjoy their city without Chinese tourists.
Of those interviewed, 51% claimed the influx of Chinese tourists to the province was adding pressure on public utilities, that are few and far between at the best of times. The city lacks a public transport system and residents in suburbs are forced to burn rubbish due the absence of a garbage collection service.
On creating solutions, 53% said the government does not have a serious policy or actual plan to handle the problems caused by Chinese tourists’ bad behavior.
Moreover, the survey indicated that 48% of those interviewed believed local people were not impressed by the boom in tourism from China, while 38% believed it would cause more crime and 30% agreed it was a negative factor on their overall quality of life.
Chinese tour operators should be more responsible in their marketing strategy and help to educate their clients to behave, 31% of the respondents noted.
The research institute researcher who conducted the survey, Korawan Sangkhakorn, said the survey was conducted to monitor the situation and the consequences arising from an increase in Chinese tourists to Chiang Mai.
In 2009, there were about 700,000 Chinese tourists visiting Thailand and in 2013, the number of Chinese tourists increased to 4.7 million.
“The increase in Chinese tourists has a major impact on locals according to the survey and as a result, there is a decrease in quality tourists from other countries as a result of the negative behavior.”
The institute said the survey could be used to help solve the problem and find ways to encourage Chinese visitors to behave better when on holiday.
The Chinese government sponsors a campaign to explain to its citizens how they should behave on holiday. Also the political crisis in Bangkok and a tougher consumer laws in China have dampened tour business to Thailand. That negative trend is likely to continue for some time as long as rival sides of the political divide fail to negotiate a truce.
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