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The first online travel regulations are promulgated, big data is fully integrated into supervision

Date: 2020-09-04

Clarifying the platform responsibilities of online travel companies is conducive to the long-term sustainable development of the online travel industry.

On September 1, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued the "Interim Regulations on the Management of Online Tourism Operation Services" (hereinafter referred to as the "Regulations"), which will be formally implemented on October 1, 2020. This is my country's first regulatory regulation focusing on the online travel market.

"The "Regulations" came at the right time." The relevant person in charge of Meituan Travel said in an interview with a reporter from 21st Century Business Herald that for online travel companies, this is a new trend that cannot be ignored, and it also explains online travel. "Compliant and high-quality development" in the market is an irreversible trend.

The "Regulations" clarify the scope of application and relevant subjects, and include hot issues such as unreasonable low-price travel, protection of evaluation rights, and use of tourist information into supervision. Does this mean that the online travel consumption environment will be further regulated, or the online travel industry will usher in a new stage of development?

"The "Regulations" are a golden line for the development of the industry, making the industry more standardized and more sense of direction," Feng Rao, head of the Mafengfeng Tourism Research Center, affirmed the introduction of the "Regulations". Conducive to the long-term sustainable development of the online travel industry."

New plan, red line

1999 is known as the first year of China's online travel development. A large number of online travel companies have been established since that year. After more than 20 years of development, my country's online travel market has grown rapidly and the number of online travel companies and platforms has continued to increase. According to the China Online Travel Market Data Report 2019, my country's online travel users reached 413 million in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 5.36%, and the online travel market reached 105.9 billion yuan, breaking through one trillion for the first time.

With the rapid growth of the market, chaos in the online travel market frequently occurs. Due to the non-synchronization of travel products and services with transactions and the remoteness of consumption, coupled with the virtual nature of online transactions and the stubborn illnesses of the travel market itself, various problems in online travel transactions have frequently occurred.

The user rights protection case database of the e-commerce consumer dispute mediation platform shows that after the end of each tourist consumption season, online travel (OTA) has become the hardest hit area for complaints. The problems are concentrated in default tying, overlord clauses, big data completion, and order refunds. , Information leakage, false propaganda, low price trap, price increase or no ticket after placing an order, order error, compensation for travel accidents, etc. 10 aspects. In this context, it has become a social consensus to strengthen the supervision of the online travel market and regulate the market order.

However, the blurring of the boundaries of responsibility has increased the difficulty of supervision. Liu Simin, director of the Tourism Research Institute of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said in an interview with a reporter from the 21st Century Business Herald that in the past, the country’s management of traditional tourism was relatively easy and familiar. Online tourism emerged with the Internet, which is more complicated than the traditional tourism industry. . "Online tourism industry supervision involves all aspects, who will manage and how to manage it has always been a problem. At present, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has taken a step forward."

The reporter noted that the "Regulations" put forward more specific regulations on the characteristics and actual conditions of the online travel industry, responding to hot social issues such as false bookings, unreasonable low-price travel, price discrimination (big data), and credit supervision.

For example, in 2018 and 2019, the most popular cases that attracted public opinion were complaints from multiple consumers on online travel platforms such as Ctrip, Fliggy, and other online travel platforms, such as "big data killing familiarity" and platform swiping orders. Article 15 of the Regulations clearly stated It was pointed out that “online travel operators must not abuse big data analysis and other technical means to set unfair trading conditions based on travel consumption records, travel preferences, etc., and infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of tourists.”

"Technology and innovation should be used as a means for online travel companies to improve service quality and industrial efficiency." Feng Rao said that online travel companies should use their own technological development and industrial deepening to safeguard consumers' rights and make travel consumption safer and more convenient. .

"For tourism companies, this is'good' rather than'pressing'." The relevant person in charge of Meituan Tourism believes that the "Regulations" put forward solutions to the problems in the online travel market and provide solutions to the online travel market. Tighter constraints, such as clear regulation of hot issues such as unreasonable low-price travel, will play a positive role in protecting the rights and interests of online travel consumers and the development of the industry.

Focus on hot spots and respond to expectations

The "Regulations" have reached an industry consensus on the regulatory role of market operations. Feng Rao told reporters that in the tourism market competition, the past behaviors such as "unreasonable low-price travel" and "big data killing familiarity" used industry information barriers to infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and also caused a huge impact on the order of market competition. The impact. Now that the accumulated abuses of these industries are included in legal supervision, it is of far-reaching significance to the high-quality development of the tourism industry, providing more market space for tourism products of good quality and good service, and protecting the consumption rights of tourists.

Cheng Chaogong, the chief researcher of Tongcheng Research Institute, believes that for the first time, the "Regulations" clarified some requirements and initiatives in the form of regulations, and refined some policy requirements, making it easier for the industry to follow and implement. "This will play a positive role in maintaining a good market order and creating a good online travel service consumption environment. A regulated market is more conducive to the development and growth of my country's online travel industry."

A more standardized and high-quality online travel market has become the common expectation of society. It is worth noting that the online travel market is accelerating its recovery under the normalization of epidemic prevention and control. Cheng Chaogong believes that in the long run, the epidemic is not only a crisis for the online travel industry, but also contains opportunities. Among them, the most noteworthy is the "great acceleration" of the development of informatization and online consumption of the tourism industry chain. During the epidemic, non-contact services and online reservations have become rigid demands in the tourism consumption field, thus providing new opportunities for online tourism platforms with big data and information technology accumulation.

In addition, tourism expert Liu Simin also specially reminded that the market concentration of the online travel industry will become higher and higher in the future, and it will become the main channel for the sales of travel products and services. In the face of this huge market, it is necessary to improve relevant laws in addition to the "Regulations", achieve clear legislation, grading and grading, and increase punitive damages, increase the illegal cost of suppliers, and reduce consumers’ Rights protection costs.