Not content with only stealing jobs from local tour guides, Chinese nationals illegally working as guides for all-China tourist groups in the central city of Da Nang have also told visitors misleading information about Vietnam.
Da Nang is in the same situation as the world-renowned resort town of Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, where Chinese arrivals continue to rise, and where these visitors are taken around by unlicensed Chinese tour guides.
The unregistered foreign tour guides are said to have kicked local tour guides out of the game, meaning the local tourism sector does not benefit much from Chinese arrivals, who are only taken to a certain number of shops where tour organizers and guides are paid hefty commissions.
Even worse, local tour guides in Da Nang have warned that illegal Chinese tour leaders are giving false information about Vietnam’s politics, culture, history and geography to their countrymen during trips around the Vietnamese city.
In Da Nang, local guides are hired by tour organizers exclusively serving Chinese holidaymakers to work as a ‘sitting guide,’ or ‘scapegoat,’ whose only job is to deal with authorities whenever a foreign tourist group is checked.
For the rest of the trip, they just sit while Chinese nationals do the introductory tasks.
Currently, foreigners are banned from working as tour guides in Vietnam.
“[The Chinese] may talk whatever they want, whereas they know a little about Vietnam and the local attractions,” a local guide told Infonet, a newswire run by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
The Vietnamese tourism employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “only God knows” what the Chinese will say about Vietnamese politics and history.
“It is no surprise that the Chinese point to Non Nuoc Beach and say it belongs to China,” Infonet quoted the tour guide as saying.
The anonymous source said the Chinese tour guides, despite having no license, “are busy working all the time,” while the licensed Vietnamese personnel “only have two trips a month at most.”
Local tour guides in Da Nang have plans to form a union of Chinese-speaking guides to protect their rights and interests, as well as protesting against unlicensed foreign guides.
“We have to encourage our fellow guides not to work as ‘sitting guides’ for Chinese tourists, though some disagree because they want to earn easy money,” the anonymous source said.
The Da Nang tourism department has received documents including photos and video clips proving Chinese nationals are working as unlicensed tour guides in the city, deputy director Tran Chi Cuong said on Tuesday.
Among the documents is a video showing a Chinese man named Xue Chun Zhe giving distorted accounts of Vietnamese history and culture to a group of Chinese tourists, according to newswire VnExpress.
According to the footage, while speaking to his guests at the famous Linh Ung Pagoda, Xue said Vietnam used to be a part of northern China in the 14th century.
He added that even when Vietnam later became an independent country, it still relied on China and had to give tributes to the then-Chinese royal empire.
One Vietnamese tour guide also told VnExpress that many Chinese guides would say My Khe Beach in Da Nang is part of the Chinese sea.
My Khe, Non Nuoc, and all other beaches in Da Nang all belong to the East Vietnam Sea.
“The Chinese guides told their guests to never believe in the Vietnamese tour leaders because Vietnam hates China,” the source told VnExpress.
“When they are accompanied by Vietnamese guides, the Chinese will communicate with each other by local dialects that we cannot understand.”