City authorities warn tourism platforms over illegal Internet ads

Tourism websites, platforms and apps are hotbeds for illegal advertisements, with online travel operator Ctrip being a notable offender, the city's market watchdog warned.

Tourism websites, platforms and apps are hotbeds for illegal advertisements, with online travel operator Ctrip being a notable offender, the city's market watchdog warned on Tuesday.

Shanghai-based Ctrip violated national advertisement and tourism laws for promoting overseas gambling in its tour packages, inaccurately describing Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and using inaccurate maps of China, among other offenses, according to the Shanghai Industry and Commerce Administration.

For instance, Ctrip's online ads contained phrases like "try your luck at casinos," and "experience all kinds of extremely luxury hotel casinos in the world's gambling city" in its tourism advertisements for Las Vegas. Such language violates Chinese laws and an investigation is underway into the matter, according to the administration.

Last year, 4,384 illegal Internet advertisement cases were uncovered in Shanghai, with a total of 90.29 million yuan (US$14.1 million) collected in fines and forfeits. 

The administration and district market watchdogs are currently conducting a campaign targeting Internet advertisements from companies across a variety of industries.

Some websites fail to scrutinize their ads and many companies are unaware of the law, administration officials said.

Online health food, cosmetics and staple food vendors were also major violators of advertisement laws, the administration added. 


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