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April 10, 2014

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Travel agencies win over tourists with free Wi-Fi service

A FREE Wi-Fi service offered by travel agencies to tourists traveling overseas is proving popular amid a heightened craze for social media sites.

Tourists are keen to share their experience and photos on social media platforms like WeChat and weibo while traveling, but the high costs and the inconvenience of surfing online abroad  makes it difficult, travel agencies say.

Shanghai Spring International Travel Service (Group) Co Ltd started providing free Wi-Fi on tour buses in some European countries and United States in January.

Bao Tianhang, a white collar worker in her 20s, struggled for Internet connection during her recent trip to South Korea. The cruise ship had no signal and she could not send messages or even use her phone to make calls.

“I wanted to talk with my boyfriend  on WeChat every day, and share some  pictures of my trip but I just could not reach him. I was getting increasingly  anxious of losing contact with him.”

Finally, her South Korean tour  guide shared her Wi-Fi to ease her anxiety.

Online operator Ctrip started providing Wi-Fi service last month.

Tour guides carry rented wireless Wi-Fi devices similar to routers overseas and each device can provide free Wi-Fi for five tourists. The free Wi-Fi connections cover over 100 countries including Australia, the US, Japan and South Korea and regions.

“We notice that many tourists, even in their 60s, like taking pictures with mobile phones and upload them on social sites. The free Wi-Fi will also keep them in contact with their family members,” said Shi Kaifeng, Ctrip PR.

The service is free and there is no time limit, Shi said.

For individual tourists who book air tickets or accommodation on Ctrip, they can also rent the Wi-Fi device for about 40 yuan (US$6.45) per day. Tuniu and Shanghai China CYTS Travel Service are also offering similar services.

Tourists can also search for some useful information about their destinations if they have such service.


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