China to get extreme toilet makeover to boost tourism
Thinking about visiting China but worried about how bad the toilets are?
You may be relieved, in more than one way, to hear that the country's leader is on your side.
President Xi Jinping, now a bathroom aficionado after frequent visits to inspect the facilities in rural homes, has announced he's doubling down on a campaign for a Chinese "toilet revolution" that he launched in 2015.
Voicing the concerns of many a wary traveler, the communist leader said clean toilets were the cornerstone of a civilized society and would help boost travel to China as well as improving the hygiene of the masses.
Toilet issues are crucial to tourism
China has opened about 68,000 improved bathrooms in tourist areas around the country since Xi began his campaign.
Good news for places in China that have long had a notorious reputation for appalling standards of public restroom hygiene.
Once deterring visitors with its doorless dry toilets, Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve in southwestern Sichuan province has just welcomed a series of new eco-toilets around the area.
"Toilet issues are not petty matters but an important aspect of satisfying the public's desire for a decent and healthy life," Jack Sim, founder of global sanitation campaigner the World Toilet Organization, tells CNN.
Sim, aka "Mr. Toilet," says a lack of clean facilities could harm China's tourism industry in the long run
"But the lack of clean toilets made tourism impossible to be promoted as the tour agencies always get bad reports and complaints after the tour -- as the stench, filth and terrible condition of many Chinese toilets horrified foreign visitors."
"In many cases, money is not the problem, but it is a mindset problem," says Bai.
"If we are able to make toilets fashionable, just like a cell phone, a TV, or a dream, we can change the toilet culture of China."
You have been hearing about the value of clean restrooms from us for years. Good to see that it is a focus of a whole country..
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