The dominance of State-owned companies is a key reason behind the large number of complaints about Yunnan province's tourism industry, a top Yunnan official said.
Chen Hao, deputy to the National People's Congress and secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, made the comment on Monday in a meeting of the Yunnan delegation at the fifth session of China's 12th National People's Congress.
"Most of the tourism resources are controlled by SOEs in Yunnan. These companies, however, fail to invest enough money in upgrading the scenic spots.
They simply set up gates and charge an admission fee and fail to transform and upgrade the industry," said Chen.
He said this leads to repeated malpractices, including unreasonably cheap package trips with forced-shopping arrangements and tourists abused at scenic spots.
"Though we stepped up the efforts last year and gained some good results, it's still far from our goal (of eradicating the problem). "
These State-owned companies are "consuming tourism resources at low price" and their control of the resources has hindered the development of the industry, he said.
He said the tourism industry needs reform.
"In terms of reforming State-owned companies, Yunnan lags other provinces and is at least 10 years behind provinces in East China.
"We should promote the reforms of State-owned companies as called for in the annual work report of the State Council," he said. "If Yunnan doesn't reform, we will fail to reinvigorate the economy," he said.
Tourism is the backbone of Yunnan's economy, which attracts tourists from all over the world with its pristine nature and cultural attractions.
However, the reputation of the province has been mired in a slew of complaints, as well as videos that went viral showing tour guides forcing tourists to spend more.
In 2015, a tour guide was caught on tape verbally abusing her clients for not spending enough during a shopping stop. She questioned the tourists' "morals" and "conscience".