An increasing number of Chinese tourists are setting their sights on overseas travel, and regional destinations such as Vietnam are proving popular destinations.
The country is forecast to be the fourth most popular destination among Chinese tourists during their National Day break from October 1-8 this year, according to a report conducted by Ctrip, a Shanghai-based travel agency.
Topping the list were Thailand, Singapore and Japan, while Hong Kong and South Korea have fallen out of Chinese favor this year.
By climbing three places in this year’s rankings, Vietnam has even surpassed the U.S. in terms of popularity, the report revealed.
However, Chinese visitors are not just looking for a bit of R&R, according to the report. They are also interested in investment opportunities, particularly in the real estate sector.
The revised Vietnamese Law on Residential Housing that allows foreign ownership has fueled Chinese interest in Vietnamese properties over the past year.
During the first five months of 2017, Chinese enquiries into Vietnamese properties surged by 442 percent against the same period last year, according to Juwai.com, China’s largest overseas property platform.
Around three million Chinese visitors touched down in Vietnam during the first nine months of 2017, an on-year increase of 47.7 percent.
Juwai.com predicted that by the end of this year, the total number of Chinese arrivals in Vietnam could reach 4 million, a massive leap compared to 2.69 million visitors last year.
Mainland China accounted for 30 percent of all tourists to Vietnam in 2016. Such large numbers of Chinese arrivals and their growing interest in Vietnam’s property market are expected to influence the country’s economic growth.
This surge in Chinese arrivals is partly due to simplified visa procedures that were rolled out at the beginning of this year. They include e-visas for short-term Chinese visitors and a three-day visa-free entry for Chinese visitors entering the northern province of Quang Ninh by car or in groups.
But the trend has also created legal problems. The Vietnamese tour guide community in Da Nang has lodged a petition to the central city’s leaders calling for action to be taken against Chinese nationals who have been offering illegal tours around town. Vietnamese law bans foreigners from working as tour guides.
Some of the unlicensed Chinese tour guides have been distorting Vietnam’s history and culture. According to the petition, one reportedly said that Vietnam still relies on and pays tribute to China; and another claimed that Da Nang’s My Khe Beach belongs to China.