NHA TRANG, 21 March 2018: Nha Trang’s hotels and travel trade are up in arms over the boom in Chinese tour groups that they claim is seriously overloading the resort’s ability to cope.
Commenting to VietnamNet, earlier this week, Liberty Hotel director Le Van Son, blamed Nha Trang’s problems on Chinese tourists.
“Beaches, accommodations and entertainment complexes are getting sleazy,” he said, without giving specific examples.
However, there is plenty of evidence that Nha Trang like so many beach resort towns in Southeast Asia lacks the infrastructure and services to deal with a flood of tourists, regardless of nationality.
Hieu Quan Trade & Tourism Service, director,Nguyen Thanh Mang, told VietnamNet exactly the same accusing Chinese visitors of being noisy and causing sanitation problems,” without going into details.
Despite the reference to a decline in the quality of beaches, marine pollution and mounting problems dealing with garbage the main concern focuses on the rise in cheap Chinese tour groups that are reducing revenue for beach hotels.
Price is one irritant for hotels, but local travel trade representatives also complain that local tour guides are not being employed. Chinese tour companies bring in their own tour guides, which contravenes the nation’s tourism law.
However, there are examples of Vietnamese being hired to work as tour guides for Chinese tour groups, but invariably they are forced to adopt a passive role, just to comply with regulations, while the real guiding is undertaken by illegal Chinese tour guides.
Nha Trang Tourism Association chair, Lam Nhu Cuong, said research showed that Chinese tourists have already surpassed Americans as the travellers with the highest spending power when travelling abroad.
But most of the Chinese travellers to Vietnam are booked on cheap tours called ‘zero dong tours’, which is similar to the name used by the travel trade in Thailand to describe tours that are sold below cost and rely on heavy commissions earned from add-on services such as restaurants, boat hire and visits to privately run attractions and shops.
It is estimated that each Chinese spends USD2,000 on a trip to Vietnam, but Chinese travellers to Nha Trang City spend much less than the average when compared with Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
Hotels say the average room rate has dropped by 50% over the last two years and blame that on the dominance of Chinese tour groups.
According to the Khanh Hoa provincial Tourism Department, 146,300 Chinese travellers visited Nha Trang in January alone.