There’s nothing worse than discovering your tour is just a series of pit stops on the Souvenir Express. But unfortunately your options are primarily limited to staying on board until journey’s end, or forfeiting your cash and detaching yourself, unsure of how exactly you’ll get home. But some Chinese tourists have had enough. Traveler columnist Daisann McLane sends along this report from China:
Yes, tourists really are rioting in China. The booming economy has created a huge market for low-end travel among Chinese from the working classes. And that’s created a new shady economy of unscrupulous low-end tour dealers. They offer packages at unbelievably low prices, like three days in Macau, all-inclusive for $60. It’s only after you get on the bus–and these tours are always on a bus–that you discover you’ve signed on for more than you expected. And that the “sights” you’ll be seeing are mostly the insides of shops where shoddy goods are sold for many more times than they are worth. That’s how the dealers make their profit on these cut-rate tour packages.
The Chinese tourist on one of these scam-o-tours finds him or herself practically a prisoner of the tour company from hell. But one group of tourists from Henan province rose up in anger, and decided they couldn’t take it anymore. Here’s a dispatch from Hong Kong RTHK radio:
The authorities in Macau have defended the deployment of riot police, to mediate a dispute between a large group of mainland tourists and their guides. About 100 members of the tour group from Hebei returned to the mainland this morning, but two men and three women accused of assaulting police officers remain in custody. Scuffles broke out last night between the police and the tourists, who were angry at allegedly being overcharged, abandoned, and forced to shop by their Macau tour guides.
Is this the future of (un)sustainable tourism?
- Nat Geo Expeditions