China tour sponsored by Chinese Government. Really?
Some China tour operators offering seemingly dirt-cheap tours to China ($59, $99, $199) say their tours are subsidized by the Chinese government and therefore they are obligated to parade the tourists through the government-owned stores. This is a fraudulent claim, a rather cynical scheme to exploit the ignorance and credulity of consumers who can’t live without bargains. Anyone in their right mind should wonder why the Chinese government is interested in subsidizing trips by overseas tourists when the country already holds the highest foreign exchange reserve in the world! It’s just ludicrous to even think that the Chinese government would have time to fleece tourists when it is so busy overseeing the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP (and the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity) according to the IMF. In the past few years, over 10 million Chinese have been “lifted” out of poverty every year. The remaining 40 million still living in poverty are expected to get out of it by 2020, a promise by the Chinese government. Clearly, China is no longer a poor country desperate for tourist dollars. In the past three decades, China privatized most of the stated-owned enterprises; there’s simply no reason for them to hang on to tourist stores.
Interestingly, such cheap tours are marketed exclusively to consumers of Chinese ancestry and overseas Chinese living in Western countries. The operators don’t accept Chinese nationals because these people are much harder to fool. Travellers of non-Chinese ancestry would be either denied or assessed a “surcharge” to make up for the operators’ loss. In the mind of the tour operators, the typical Westerner spends less on shopping and is more inclined toward taking legal action when cheated.
In a free society, businesses have the right to sell whatever that’s legal and at whatever price they see fit. We are not jealous of anyone and we certainly have no interest in consumers looking for such deals. What we find reprehensible is the lack of integrity of these tour operators because at no level does the Chinese government play a role in their scheme. If you doubt what we say, contact the official Chinese tourist office nearest you. In fact, the Chinese National Tourism Administration as well as the provincial tourism authorities mentioned by the tour companies as sponsors have repeatedly denied involvement in such scams, even going so far as to threaten legal actions against these unscrupulous tour operators. That is why these companies no longer state in their marketing materials that their tours are subsidized by the Chinese government.
We never planned to write about this until when we realized that the number of inquiries on “Chinese government subsidized tours” directed at us had been taking up too much of our time, and money too – it costs us every time someone dials our toll free number. Ever since this article was published, we have been referring such inquiries to this article, thus saving us lots of time and money.
China tour sponsored by Chinese Government
This topic has been widely discussed online such as this TripAdvisor forum.