A number of China-based travel firms that bring Chinese tourists
to Vietnam via the Huu Nghi border gate in Lang Son are forcing local partners
to pull down prices.
A four-day-three-night tour is priced at only 300 yuan, or VND1 million, so
services are poor, affecting the image of Vietnam as a tourism destination.
A senior source from the Travel Department of the Vietnam National
Administration of Tourism said many local tour operators are complaining about
this situation. Previously, similar tours are priced at 500 yuan, but now when
service prices pick up, the foreign partners push prices down to 300 yuan,
leading to low service quality.
“A meal for tourists is suggested at VND30,000, then quality cannot be
guaranteed. Price squeeze, quality impairment occur more and more frequently,”
said the source.
Tour programs for Chinese visitors coming via the Huu Nghi border gate are
usually traditional tours from Lang Son to Hanoi, Haiphong and Quang Ninh. Now,
this kind of tour has been expanded to the central region.
Despite expanded tour routes and better conditions for border crossing, the
number of tourists is dropping.
“The tourist source is huge, but only tens of thousands of tourists cross the
border gate every year, and now the volume is falling. Poor service is one of
the reasons,” said the source from the travel department.
China is currently the biggest source market for Vietnam’s tourism with more
than 1.4 million arrivals in 2011. Tourists from this neighboring country can
enter Vietnam using passports or laissez-passers via the inland border gates in
Lang Son and Lao Cai or by sea.
The fact that Chinese partners are pushing down prices and cut down on services
not only happens at border gates, but also in other road tours. Several
companies accept to lose partners and tourists as they cannot reduce prices