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New guidebook for Chinese tourists warns against nose-picking

Oct. 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM ET

Guidebook for civilised tourism
Courtesy Chinese National Tourism Administration
The Chinese National Tourism office issued a 64-page guidebook filled with travel "do's" and "don'ts" for Chinese when traveling abroad.

As an increasing number of Chinese people travel abroad, the Chinese authorities have issued instructions how to be "civilized" tourists, with an illustrated list of dos and don'ts to ensure tourists don't give the country a bad name.

China's National Tourism Administration have publicized a 64-page guidebook on their website, entitled "Guidebook for Civilized Tourism," advising Chinese nationals not to pick their noses in public, urinate in pools or steal airplane life jackets, according to a report by news agency AFP on Wednesday.

As well as urging would-be tourists to comply with non-smoking areas and not to throw rubbish or shout in public, it also warned against the annoying habit of forcing locals to take their photos. In addition, the guide advised travelers to keep their nose-hair neatly trimmed.

Other snippets of advice were country-specific. The guide warned Chinese visitors to Germany to only snap their fingers to beckon dogs, not humans, and that women in Spain should always wear earrings in public, or be considered effectively naked. Visitors to Japan were advised to avoid fidgeting with hair or clothes in restaurants. 

The guide was issued ahead of China's "Golden Week" of public holidays in which millions of Chinese people take vacations, which begun on October 1. The guide Is designed to instruct people how to behave in their own country as well as abroad, and comes as an increasing number of affluent Chinese travel abroad. 

(Read more: A nation on vacation: China's Golden Week holidays begin)

In April, the World Trade Organisation named China the new number one nation for expenditure when traveling abroad. Chinese expenditure abroad reached $102 billion in 2012 and the volume of international trips by Chinese travelers reached 83 million, up from 10 million in 2000.

But despite the boon for economically struggling countries in Europe and elsewhere that rely on tourism, the Chinese have nonetheless developed something of a reputation for uncouth behaviour while abroad.

(Read more: Greece:'Tourism bonanza' to give economy a boost?)

In May, a mainland Chinese woman who let her son relieve himself in a bottle in a crowded Hong Kong restaurant sparked an outpour of anger. Plus, there was outrage when a 15 year-old tourist from Nanjing recently carved his name into an ancient temple in Luxor, Egypt.

The guide came as China introduced its first ever tourism law on Tuesday, showing that authorities are keen to get a grip on the tourism trade. The law banned tour companies from hiding costs such as mandatory shopping trips, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Furthermore, it is not the first time the image-conscious government has tried to "civilize" its nascent tourist sector. In May, the authorities tried to appeal to national pride, telling people that "being a civilized tourist is the obligation of each citizen," Xinhua stated.

- BY CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt.

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