Vietnam enjoys a complicated relationship with Chinese tourists, who make up a significant proportion of its international arrivals – in 2017, 4 million of the 12.9 million visitors hailed from its northern neighbour.
Speaking to VietnamNet, Tu Quy Thanh, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based travel company Lien Bang Travelink, which specialises in the Chinese-speaking market, said that most Vietnamese travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City refuse to run zero-dong tours. Instead, they are targeting more affluent Chinese travellers.
China’s increasingly well-travelled millennials are far less interested in package tours than previous generations, preferring to make their own way overseas, and everyone is trying to court them.
A 2016 report put together by Skyscanner and UnionPay Smart on Chinese “free, independent travellers” showed that the majority were aged from 15 to 33, hailed from China’s top-tier cities, enjoyed shopping while overseas and preferred destinations such as Thailand and Japan. Vietnam’s tourism sector hopes that by clamping down on zero-dong tour operators it can make it onto that list.
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