Chinese travelers flock to Vietnam instead of South Korea
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 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.
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.
Thanh Mai, VNN