Old town agrees to improve services
The Old Town of Lijiang, a national 5-A scenic spot in Southwest China's Yunnan province, posted a statement on its official micro blog on Saturday afternoon, saying it was willing to accept punishment by the China National Tourism Administration and work to resolve issues with the services it provides.
"We apologize for our insufficient work. We are open to tourists' criticism and suggestions, and will make things right," said the government of Gucheng district, where the town is located, in the post.
The post came after the National Tourism Administration issued warnings to three 5-A scenic spots on Saturday morning, including the Old Town of Lijiang, demanding rectification of issues within six months.
The other two scenic spots are Jingpo Lake in Mudanjiang city, Heilongjiang province, and Laohutan Ocean Park in Dalian, Liaoning province.
Peng Decheng, director of the administration's Planning and Finance Department, said the number of tourist complaints about Lijiang has remained high, with frequent incidents relating to tourists' personal safety or property.
"Local residents have had serious conflicts with tourists," Peng said. "The scenic spot has failed to maintain quality equipment and services."
In recent years, there have been many reports of tourists being overcharged or being forced to shop in Lijiang.
This year alone, there have already been at least three incidents involving tourists being beaten in Lijiang. In one incident, a female tourist lost her purse and was disfigured after being beaten by a dozen people at a restaurant.
These high-profile incidents have attracted widespread public attention and put the town, well-known for its long history and as home to several ethnic groups, at the center of controversy.
Zheng Yi, mayor of Lijiang, said in a Government Work Report during the ongoing Lijiang People's Congress that Lijiang has gained a bad reputation for insufficient supervision and administration, as well as unsatisfactory services and public security.
Zheng requested that relevant departments shoulder responsibility and make efforts to solve the issues.
Liu Jian, a 31-year-old Beijing resident who traveled to the old town in September 2015, said: "I was lucky compared with some tourists who were beaten, as I was only overcharged there. But the experiences were enough to leave me with a bad impression.
"I'm glad to hear that the old town will start to rectify its issues and I hope it will be reformed."