Tuesday, 16 May 2017

VIET NAM: China's Ban On Travel To South Korea,Chinese Tourists Flock Vietnam

According to Luong Quang So, head of the Mong Cai economic zone management board, on the days just before and after Tet (late January and early February), only 8,000-10,000 foreign travelers, including 2,500-3,500 Chinese, entered Vietnam through the Mong Cai border gate each day.

However, the figure increased sharply to 15,000 a day, including 5,000 from China in the last week, an increase of 50 percent over the same period last year.

Duong Van Co, chair of Mong Cai City, said that the increasing number of travelers has put pressure on customs clearance, but this has not had any impact on public order and tourism management.

The accommodations and tourism sites in Mong Cai are still capable of catering to travelers because most of the travelers go on domestic routes.

Thousands of Chinese travelers entered Vietnam through the Mong Cai international border gate two days after China's ban on travel to South Korea.

According to Co, as the number of tourists increases, the fees and charges collected from tourists at the border gate will increase. In 2016, the local authorities collected VND230 billion from this source.

On March 8, South Korean agencies said the Chinese administration met with representatives of tourism agencies and travel firms in Beijing and told the firms to stop providing tours to South Korea, commencing from March 15.

Seoul believes that the move is an unofficial sanction amid South Korea’s THAAD missile system deployment.

Beijing said it was disappointed about the South Korea’s decision, while it revealed to make comments about the retaliation plan.

Analysts said if Chinese travelers are prohibited from going to South Korea, they would flock to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam instead.

Tran Chi Cuong, deputy director of the Da Nang City Tourism Department, said the department is keeping a close watch over the number of Chinese travelers.

The facilities in the city will still be able to serve Chinese travelers even if the number of tourists increases, Cuong said.

The sea city of Da Nang, with one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, last year received 400,000 Chinese travelers. There are 25 air routes from China to Da Nang with 81 flights provided a week.

Nha Trang City of Khanh Hoa province is also popular with Chinese travelers. It received 1.1 million foreign travelers in 2016, including 525,000 Chinese travelers.

However, Nha Trang has been warned not to rely on the Chinese market. Tran Viet Trung, director of Khanh Hoa Tourism Department, admitted that the rapid development of the Chinese market has caused embarrassing problems in management.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is working with some localities that are popular destinations among Chinese tourists such as Quang Ninh, Danang and Khanh Hoa to cope with travel firms providing poor-quality tours to protect the interests of customers.

Vietnam’s tourism industry is taking a number of measures to increase service quality to welcome a greater number of Chinese visitors to the country, which is estimated to rise 50% to four million this year.

The agency also organizes many tourism promotion programs in China. Particularly, from May 11 to 20, the agency will cooperate with several travel firms to introduce Vietnam’s tourism in four Chinese cities, including Nanning, Fuzhou, Nanjing and Hefei.

The number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam has increased rapidly and is forecast to set a new record by the end of this year, with four million visitors, compared to 2.7 million in 2016.

The most popular Vietnamese destinations chosen by Chinese tourists include Hanoi, Halong, and Ninh Binh in the north; Danang, Hoi An, Hue and Nha Trang in the central region; and HCMC and Phu Quoc in the south.

Tour operators have also prepared themselves for the upsurge in Chinese arrivals.

Last year, the number of Chinese visitors increased by 50% and we expect strong growth this year. Therefore, we have to prepare hotel rooms in advance to ensure better service for the tourist season at the end of 2017, said Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travel Trading Company Limited,Lien Bang Travelink.

Similarly, Chinese tourists account for 60-70% of total international arrivals catered to by local tour operator Vietravel, and the company usually receives large orders for groups of tourists all year round.