A surge of Chinese arrivals to Nha Trang, the capital of the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa, has sparked worries that the world-renowned resort town will soon be ‘Chinalized.’
In the first five months of this year, some 175,000 Chinese tourists have visited Nha Trang, nearly equal the full-year figure of 180,000 arrivals in 2015, according to the province’s tourism department.
While the rising tourist numbers from China do contribute to the tourism industry, local authorities are concerned that there are many issues challenging competent agencies.
Some domestic tour organizers have complained that they were unable to book hotel rooms in Nha Trang, with most lodging places fully booked by travel firms that solely serve Chinese tourists, said Phan Thanh Truc, deputy director of the Khanh Hoa Tourism Department.
Nguyen Sy Khanh, deputy chairman of the Nha Trang administration, said another issue with Chinese tourists is that they tend to pose for photographs at local attractions with banners full of Chinese texts.
“We have collected those banners for translation, and found that besides those with normal messages, there are texts with inadequate content,” Khanh said.
Tran Nhan Nghia, head of the economic police unit of Khanh Hoa police department, warned local authorities against the risk of ‘Chinalization’ Nha Trang is facing.
“The Chinese will first stay at Vietnamese hotels, eat at Vietnamese restaurants and buy souvenirs from Vietnamese shops,” he said. “But later the Chinese will come here to lease the entire such facilities and take over management and operations.”
Local police have identified some Chinese nationals who arrived to Khanh Hoa on tourist visa to work as tour leaders, but are in fact owners of travel firms back in China.
“These Chinese people, through tour guides, are in charge of every managerial tasks, from arranging hotels and shopping venues for the tourists to planning their itineraries, without having to set up travel firm in Khanh Hoa,” Nghia said.
“They also brought Chinese goods here and labeled them as if they are made in Vietnam, then sell to Chinese tourists.”
Tran Son Hai, deputy chairman of Khanh Hoa administration, said the management and supervision over Chinese tourists staying in lodging places across the province must be tightened.
The province’s administration also tasked the police force with cracking down on the phenomenon in which Chinese nationals arrive on tourist visa to illegally do business in the locale.
Relevant agencies have also been requested to inspection such issues as taxes, foreign currency payment and product quality at facilities that serve foreign tourists in June.