The China National Tourism Administration has announced on its official website that the Regulations on Tourist Complaints Handling will be put in force from July 1, 2010.
According to the document, the statute of limitation for tourist complaints will be extended to 90 days, 30 days longer than the trial Interim Regulations on Tourist Complaints.
On receiving complaints from tourists, the related tourism quality supervision departments should handle these within five working days, while respondents should make a written reply in ten days after receiving notices. The complaints handling body should issue a “tourist complaint mediation letter” if the complainant and respondent have reached a mediated agreement in 60 days; if not, complainants could apply for arbitration or file a lawsuit.
The document also has provisions about the use of a travel agency quality bond in case tourists are stranded. If there is loss of tourists’ prepaid expense or if tourists are stranded due to a travel agency’s behavior, the agency should pay the costs of transport, accommodation or a return trip in a timely manner. If tourists can not reach a mediated settlement with an agency, the complaint handling body can make the decision to transfer the agency’s quality bond to compensate the tourists, or it can make a suggestion to the tourism administrative department on the transfer of the quality bond.