China promises toilet revolution for tourists

(CNN) — 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

Some 68,000 toilets have been built in tourist sites around China since the launch of the “toilet revolution” in 2015. But we aren’t sure if this glass-walled public toilet in Shiyan Lake scenic area, Changsha, is very practical.

STR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

But is the toilet revolution all hot air (which, if nothing else, would at least be useful for drying hands on)? Not according to China’s state-run newspaper the People’s Daily.

It says 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.

Last year, Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, held a competition to select the most outstanding toilets in tourist attractions.

Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh, India: Lamas at this Tibetan Buddhist monastery get to be at one with everything even during bathroom breaks. Their “panoramic toilet” is one of more than 100 included in Lonely Planet’s “Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide.” (Picture credit: 500px)

Bernhard S. via Lonely Planet

Lijiang Old Town — previously known for toilets without individual cubicles — claimed top prize for offering facilities with odor eliminators, a motion sensor dustbin and green plants.

“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.

“China is a beautiful country with rich…

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