The tourism industry in the coastal town of Nha Trang is being put to an unexpected test as an influx of Chinese tourists has strained both the local workforce and existing facilities.
Figures from Khanh Hoa Province’s tourism department said Chinese arrivals to its popular town jumped more than five times from 2014 to around 180,000 last year. That was the second biggest group of visitors, after Russians, who have for years chosen the sunny town as their go-to destination.
Phan Thanh Truc, deputy director of the department, told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that Nha Trang draws Chinese to its beautiful scenery, good weather all year round and seafood.
The interest has been facilitated by direct flight services connecting Guangzhou to Cam Ranh Airport, which is around 50 kilometers from Nha Trang, Truc said.
Luyen Manh Cuong, director of Khanh Hoa’s tourism promotion center, said Chinese tourists usually stay four or five days at mid to upscale hotels and thus make a rather significant contribution to the tourism revenues.
But it seems the city is not ready for the boom.
There are not enough tour guides who can speak Chinese. Truc said the province has only licensed ten guides and travel agencies usually have to bring in Chinese-speaking staff from other provinces.
An unnamed government official said in the news report that Khanh Hoa Province has failed to anticipate and handle the sudden increase of Chinese tourists. It is evident in the lack of signs and instructions in Chinese around town.
Cuong from the tourism center said local authorities still do not know much about Chinese tourists, particularly how they spend money and on what.
Some service providers appear to know how the tourists often behave though.
A receptionist was quoted as saying that many Chinese guests are not very polite and usually damage the hotel's furniture and fittings.
“We have many times caught them putting their legs up to the sink to wash their shoes there,” the receptionist told Nguoi Lao Dong.