Since travel firms try to slash tour fees to scramble for Chinese travelers, the tour fees have decreased dramatically to the levels, which cannot bring profits to anyone.
No one could imagine that an international tour lasting four days and three nights at Ha Long Bay and nearby destination points designed for Chinese travelers only costs 250 yuan, or 815,000 dong. The modest sum of money is not even high enough for Vietnamese people to travel within their localities.
The low tour fee is the result of a long lasting cutthroat competition among Vietnamese travelers, which have been trying to attract Chinese clients from Chinese partners.
According to the Mong Cai Travel Firms’ Club, which represents 28 travel firms specializing in serving Chinese travelers, most travel firms charge the fees which are 50 percent lower than the floor fee.
As such, the club has estimated that in the first six months of the year, with 60,000 Chinese travelers arriving in Vietnam by land through the Mong Cai border gate, Vietnam has lost at least 50 billion dong in tour fees.
Meanwhile, domestic travel firms have said that Chinese partners have been trying to force the tour fees down, threatening to transfer clients to other firms if the Vietnamese partners do not accept the tour fees they set.
Especially, not only the members of the club compete with other travel firms, but the members of the club have also been competing with each other. Some member firms have broken their commitments about the floor tour fee when joining the club.
Admiring Ha Long bay and drinking… clean water
Nguyen Thi Minh Thu, Director of Mekong travel firm, related that one day, she heard the complaint from a Chinese traveler about the services at Ha Long Bay.
“The Ha Long Bay is wonderful. Why did you only give us clean water to drink?” the traveler asked.
The traveler, like many other Chinese travelers, could not imagine that Chinese travel firms have misappropriated the money paid by Chinese clients and only have paid Vietnamese travel firms the money enough to provide… clean water.
Travel firms all have affirmed that with the tour fee of 815,000 dong for the tour lasting four days and three nights, they would certainly incur heavy loss. Therefore, in order to ease loss, a lot of Vietnamese travel firms have to cut some services, or force domestic travel firms to reduce the service fee.
A lot of travelers on the same buses, or frugal meals are the images which can be seen regularly in Ha Long City.
“You should not be surprised if you are told that travelers have to stay at low quality hotels instead of star-hotels as promised,” Director of a travel firm said.
The director also said that Chinese partners have been trying every possible way earn more money from Chinese travelers in Vietnam.
“Some Chinese tour guides even sell souvenirs right on the buses. Some others force travelers to drop into souvenir shops run by Chinese people in Mong Cai City, where they have to buy products at the prices 10 times higher than the actual value,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese travelers were explained that the products were expensive because they are bought from Vietnamese duty free shops.
Source: Lao dong