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China's hotel star ranking system under increased scrutiny

07-27-2010 13:24 BJT

BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhuanet) -- China is planning to accelerate a mechanism with which to strip poorly run hotels of their star rankings in order to protect the image of all the 15,000 star-rated hotels across the country, a top tourism official said on Monday.

Anonymous customers' opinions will be considered for the first time along with those of industry experts when evaluating a star-rated hotel's qualification, said Du Jiang, deputy head of the National Tourism Administration of China.

Hotels already endowed with a star status will be subject to quality checkups every three years, instead of the current five year period aimed at identifying problems and fixing them, he said.

The news came days after the announcement that the Hilton Chongqing was to be stripped of its five-star status for reportedly permitting a venue for prostitution to operate on its premises.

The announcement, posted on the administration's website last Friday, said the hotel's actions have "seriously damaged the image of China's star-rated hotels and generated a bad influence".

Dai Bin, deputy head of the China Tourism Academy, told China Daily the incident has partly pushed the administration to strengthen its management of star-rated hotels.

Even more importantly, he added, a means of expelling poorly run hotels from the internationally recognized star classification system has become critical at a time when the number of China's 15,000 star-rated hotels is growing faster than ever before.

In 2009 alone, for instance, the administration gave a five-star status to 63 hotels across the country, pushing the total number of top-level stars up to 432, according to China's tourism development analysis and forecast 2010, a report compiled by the Tourism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


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