Tourism insiders hope to lure wealthy Chinese with shopping attractions – VnExpress International


Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, chairman of conglomerate Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG), said that the Chinese tourist market has a lot of untapped potential.

Tourism products in Vietnam currently do not meet the shopping needs of wealthy Chinese tourists, he added.

For every 100 middle and high-end Chinese tourists traveling abroad, 80 will spend heavily on shopping activities, Hanh said.

Chinese-popular tourist destinations such as Mong Cai, Nha Trang or Ho Chi Minh City still lack shopping spots for them to spend money.

CEO of Fantasea International Travel Company Dao Viet Long said that before the pandemic Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc used to be favorite destinations for Chinese tourists.

During peak tourism seasons, every day there are about 20,000 Chinese visitors to Nha Trang, but the beach city still failed to lure wealthy Chinese tourists to spend money.

Long said Chinese tourists prioritized luxury destinations in developed countries with cultural differences to satisfy their entertainment and shopping needs.

Vietnamese tourism has only met their basic needs while shopping services are not diverse, Long said.

Vietnam has always been considered a “cheap destination” for Chinese tourists due to dodgy tour packages called “zero-dollar tours.”

Before the pandemic, many Chinese tourists arrived in Vietnam through “zero dong tours” organized by Chinese travel companies, in which Chinese visitors would stay at Chinese-run hotels, eat at Chinese restaurants, and shop at Chinese shopping outlets.

They also used Chinese tour guides instead of local ones.

However, Vietnamese and Chinese tourism businesses are making efforts to change the landscape, turning the country into a shopping paradise for well-heeled Chinese.

China Duty Free, owned by state-owned travel company China Tourism, has signed a deal with IPPG to open three duty-free shops in Vietnam.

The first will be opened in the northern city of Mong Cai in Quang Ninh Province near the China border this year. The second will open next year in the beach city of Nha Trang of Khanh Hoa Province and the third in downtown HCMC at an unspecified date.

Hanh said duty-free shops coming into operation would be an opportunity to attract foreign currency from high-end Chinese tourists.

IPPG representatives calculate that the two partner companies will bring about 28 million Chinese visitors to Vietnam each year, equal to 2% of the northern neighbor’s population.

Nguyen Trung Khanh, director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said many countries such as South Korea and Singapore have successfully implemented duty-free stores that help stimulate shopping demand.

“If invested effectively, duty-free shopping facilities in Vietnam will contribute to promoting tourism and boosting investment growth,” Khanh added.

The Chinese government started reopening tourism with Vietnam from March last year. After one year, Vietnam welcomed nearly 1.8 million Chinese visitors, making them the second biggest tourism market after South Korea but only equal to 31% against 2019, the year before the onset of the pandemic.

In 2019, total revenue from Chinese visitors in Vietnam reached US$5.9 billion, accounting for 32% of total revenue from international visitors.

According to a report from the General Statistics Office, Chinese tourists spent $885 for a trip to Vietnam in 2019, higher than the amount of spending in Thailand ($847), South Korea ($838), and Cambodia ($735).

Chinese travelers spend an average of $930 abroad, 58% of it on shopping, especially high-end products, according to a survey by Hotels.com.





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