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April 9, 2013

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After tourist dies, firms ordered to explain risks

THE Shanghai Tourism Bureau said yesterday it is ordering travel agencies and travel websites to tighten their oversight of customer activities and raise safety awareness after a Shanghai tourist drowned in a snorkeling accident in Saipan.

Ma Rong, a 29-year-old tourist from Shanghai, traveled to the tropical island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Friday in a tour group organized by the Shanghai branch of, one of the leading travel websites in China.

Ma and her three classmates signed an agreement with Tuniu giving up a scheduled sightseeing visit on Saturday to participate in a snorkeling program on their own. Ma died on Saturday morning when she was snorkeling.

Ma's younger brother has arrived in Saipan to claim the body and handle arrangements. Investigation of the accident is underway and Tuniu is working on insurance issues, a representative of Tuniu surnamed Guo said.

The city's tourism authorities have asked travel agencies and travel websites to remind tourists about risks.

"Diving and snorkeling are risky and travel agencies and tourists should be on alert," said Gu Jianbin, deputy director of the bureau's market management department. He said such accidents are not rare.

In February, a university professor who was from Liaoning Province drowned while diving in Maldives. Also, in April 2011, a Shanghai tourist died while diving in the Philippines.


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