China urges travel businesses, tourists to amicably settle disputes amid epidemic

(Xinhua) Updated : 2020-07-30

BEIJING — Chinese authorities have urged travel businesses and tourists to settle contract disputes due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and corresponding prevention and control measures, through amicable negotiations.

The move aims to protect tourists' rights and interests while creating a supportive environment for the development of tourism, according to a circular jointly released by the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Travel businesses should arrange accommodation for tourists stranded by the COVID-19 epidemic, said the circular, specifying that tourists should bear the expense for extra accommodation, and that travel businesses should share added transport costs as a result of the stranding.

Businesses and tourist consumers were encouraged to settle disputes by adjusting some terms of their contracts through negotiations, said the circular. Specific changes include postponing the execution of the contract or changing service packages.

If the two sides in dispute fail to reach an agreement, travel businesses should offer tourist consumers refunds after deducting commissions that have been paid to subcontractors and cannot be refunded, the circular said.