China Releases “Guidebook for Civilized Tourism”

Guidebook for Civilized Tourism

China’s National Tourism Administration has published an etiquette book for Chinese tourists travelling abroad just in time for the start of “Golden Week”, a weeklong public holiday commemorating the 1949 Communist takeover.

The 64-page guidebook, entitled Guidebook for Civilized Tourism, gives would be tourists an illustrated list of dos and don’ts to ensure they don’t make a fool of themselves, and more importantly don’t make a mockery of their country.

In terms of general guidelines, the book offered such advice as:

  • Don’t pick your nose in public
  • Don’t urinate (or spit) in pools
  • Don’t steal airplane life jackets
  • Comply with non-smoking areas
  • Don’t throw garbage on the street
  • Limit forcing locals to take your picture
  • Don’t leave footprints on the lavatory seat
  • Nasal hair should be kept properly trimmed at all times
  • Don’t drink soup straight from the bowl or make slurping sounds when eating noodles

The book also offers country-specific tips:

  • When visiting Germany, only snap your fingers to beckon dogs, not humans.
  • In Spain, women should always be wearing earrings – otherwise they are considered naked.
  • Diners in Japan shouldn’t play with their clothes or hair during a meal.
  • In France, you must never give chrysanthemums and yellow flowers to those who invite you into their home.
  • In Iran you must not comment on babies’ eyes.
  • When travelling to India, don’t touch other people’s heads.


Whether or not the Guidebook for Civilized Tourism will satisfy China’s image-conscious authorities has yet to be seen but it probably can’t hurt China’s current stereotype of uncivilized tourist behaviour.

China’s economic boom has led to an increasing number of cash-flush tourists, but the overseas shenanigans of many first-time travellers hasn’t exactly reflected well on China… And after the high-profile case of the 15 year-old tourist from Nanjing who carved his name into an ancient temple in Luxor, Egypt, authorities began realizing that something must be done. Enter Guidebook for Civilized Tourism, aka China’s new bible.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply