Zero dollar tours and the Chinese tourist problem in Asia

Chinese tourists

The Vietnamese are the latest to complain about Chinese tourists. Apparently they are running roughshod over tourist spots, scaring away higher paying European guests and putting little back into local communities.

According to Vietnam news provider VN Express, 1.7 million Chinese tourists came to Vietnam in the first four month of 2018, making up 32 percent of the total number of foreign visitors.

However, they tend to travel in large groups and dominate with loud boisterous behavior. Hoang Nhan Chinh, an official from Vietnam’s National Administration of Tourism, told reporters that many of the visitors are hurting Vietnamese tourism with their “uncivilized” behavior. He also pointed out that this situation wasn’t unique to Vietnam.

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He added that the surge in Chinese tourists has not resulted in increased tourist revenue. In fact, he claimed that in Vietnam, Chinese tourists typically spend $600 per guest, while North Americans and Europeans spend about $1,500 and $1,300.

Zero dollar tours

Chinese officials strictly control the flow of Chinese travelers overseas, which obviously means a chance to get rich quick for those with ‘connections’. The average Chinese wanting to holiday overseas must do so as part of a group tour. Thus came the ‘Zero dollar’ tour scheme: tourists pay one price for an all-inclusive vacation – on the strict condition that their travel agent’s schedule and only shop at the stores they are taken to.

In Vietnam, most of the hotels, restaurants and stores serving Zero Dollar tourists are technically owned by Vietnamese nationals, but actually operated by shadowy Chinese investors.
As a result, the hordes of Chinese flocking to Vietnam are flying over on Chinese airlines, staying at Chinese-owned hotels, eating at Chinese-owned restaurants.

The shops they are taken to don’t allow Vietnamese inside and are sold at ridiculous markups.