World / Asia-Pacific

Anti-China riots take toll on Vietnam's tourism

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-21 15:15

DA NANG, Vietnam - Tourists from Chinese mainland and Taiwan that regularly visit this historical city in central Vietnam have dwindled during the past month as an offshoot of the violence that erupted in some parts of Vietnam in mid-May.

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Luc, a taxi driver here who declined to reveal his full name, said that he has witnessed a decrease of about 70 percent of tourists using his transport service during this peak season for tourism in Da Nang. The decline was attributed to the absence of visitors from the Chinese mainland and China's Taiwan, Luc said.

In its statement released in late May to the local Thanh Nien ( Young People) online newspaper, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism (DCST) of Da Nang confirmed the taxi driver's observation.

The DCST said that since mid-May, the number of Chinese visitors to this central Vietnam tourism hub has gone down by 50 to 70 percent year-on-year.

The decline in the arrival of Chinese visitors can also be gauged from the low occupancy rate in the top 20 Da Nang hotels where many Chinese tourists stay while in the city.

Ngo Quang Vinh, DCST head, attributed the big decline in the arrival of visitors from the mainland and China's Taiwan to the Chinese government's warning for its citizens not to travel to Vietnam in the meantime.

China's Taiwan issued a "yellow" travel warning for Vietnam, and China's Hong Kong issued a red warning against travel to Vietnam, in the light of anti-China riots that have rocked factories across Vietnam.

In mid-May, a series of riots hit foreign companies in Vietnam, leaving five Chinese nationals dead. Around 20 foreign factories were burned down and some 1,100 foreign companies were affected.

According to a survey made by local Bao Tin Tuc (News) online newspaper, before May, the occupancy rate in three to five stars hotels across the city was from 60 to 90 percent but this has drastically went down to only 10 to 20 percent since mid-May.

China is among Da Nang's targeted markets for tourism as the number of Chinese visitors increased steadily in the past few years due to the city's geographical proximity and similarities between Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. Moreover, Chinese visitors usually had long visiting time and spend more during their visit, the DCST said on its website.

The decline in the number of Chinese visitors also has a negative impact on local businesses as well as entertainment operations in the city.

Chinese tourists usually buy local delicacies such as cashew nuts, chili, pepper, and processed dry food.

The picture of Da Nang tourism was quite different in the first quarter of 2014 compared to previous quarters. A total of 75,000 international tourists traveled to the city by sea, nearly doubling the number over the same period of 2013.

Most of the international cruise ships arriving at Da Nang's Tien Sa port in the first three months of 2014 carried tourists from China, said Bao Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade News), an online newspaper under Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade.

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