No dollars? Don’t visit

Hordes of Chinese tourists descend upon an idyllic island paradise. Their boisterous and noisy nature scare away their more “cultured” Western counterparts. For all the resources spent on attracting them to visit, the local tourism industry makes very little from their spending.

This is the bane of “zero-dollar tourism” run by Chinese operators. Travel agencies in China offer free or very cheap tour packages, which cover meals and accommodation. Chinese tourists are attracted to the low cost and the notion that all their needs will be taken care of without having to learn and speak a foreign language.

Part of the requirement is to follow schedules set by the agencies which include compulsory shopping stops. This practice is not uncommon among tour operators in many countries. Prices of packaged tours are often subsidised by retail stores. In Hong Kong, they are known as “forced shopping” tours.

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