Zero-dong tours have been launched in many localities, creating challenges for state management agencies.
Zero-dong tours cause headaches for local authorities
Commenting about the zero-dong tour boom, the Da Nang City Tourism Department said this is a form of competition in price among travel firms, mostly applied to the Chinese and South Korean markets.
The increase in the numbers of Chinese and South Korean travelers has helped generate more jobs, bring higher income, polish the city’s image, stimulate real estate demand, and encourage investments in hotels and restaurants.
The department affirmed that offering low-cost tours is a growing tendency among travel firms, which not only happens in Vietnam, but also in other regional countries.
According to UNWTO, 135 million Chinese traveled abroad, an increase of 6 percent over 2015 and spent $261 billion, up 12 percent. This explains why many countries, especially Southeast Asia, want to attract Chinese travelers.
Ngo Quang Vinh from the department commented that low-cost tours is a ‘phenomenon of the market economy’ which can be seen in many cities/provinces such as Quang Ninh, Da Nang and Nha Trang.
The majority of Chinese travelers to Quang Ninh over the last few years were under zero-dong tours.
In high season, which lasts from October to April, the Mong Cai international border gate in Quang Ninh province receives 10,000 Chinese travelers each day.
Pham Ngoc Thuy, director of the Quang Ninh provincial Tourism Department, also said China is one of the most important markets for Quang Ninh’s tourism, creating thousands of jobs and bringing revenue of VND2.4 trillion in 2017 alone.
However, analysts warned that zero-dong tours and Chinese travelers bring problems rather than benefits and called for a ban on zero-dong tours in Vietnam.
Failure to collect tax and a dollar drain are the most visible consequences.
Nguyen Van Hung, director of Ky Nghi Da Nang, said the money paid by Chinese travelers at the shops in Vietnamese territory returns to China via online payment services with Alipay and WeChat.
In May 2018, appropriate agencies discovered a transaction of VND200 million via POS at a shop in which the money did not go through the Vietnamese banking system, but went directly to China.
The Da Nang Tourism Department admitted that there are many shops that sell low-quality products at exorbitant prices, thus spoiling the city’s image.
The same thing is happening in Quang Ninh. On April 27, Ha Long City authorities suspended a shop specializing in selling medicinal herbs to Chinese travelers because the shop overcharged travelers by VND80 million.
In the first six months of 2018, Da Nang agencies discovered 20 Chinese and three Koreans illegally working as tour guides, imposing a total fine of VND322.5 million,
According to report on Vietnamnet