A signboard announcing the suspension of services for Chinese customers at a cafe in the central beach town of Nha Trang / FILE PHOTO
Amid escalating tensions between Vietnam and China over the East Sea, the Vietnamese tourism authority has asked local hospitality businesses to refrain from discriminating against Chinese tourists.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) made the move following reports that several Vietnamese tourism suppliers have refused to serve Chinese customers in protest of their government's recent deployment of a deep-water drilling rig into Vietnamese waters.
Speaking to Thanh Nien on Wednesday, Nguyen Van Tuan, chief of VNAT, said they've also asked tourism departments across the country to maintain security for tourists and ensure that extremists don't capitalize on the recent tensions.
He said recent developments will greatly affect the number of Chinese tourists visiting Vietnam, noting that China is among biggest feeder markets for Vietnam’s inbound tourism.
Last year 1.9 million Chinese visited the country, accounting for the largest part of the Vietnam's international arrivals.
Local media have reported that many Vietnamese tourists have canceled their bookings for Chinese tours.
At least one café in Hanoi and one hotel in the central beach town of Nha Trang have posted signboards in Chinese, English, and Vietnamese announcing that they will refuse to serve Chinese customers, until the Chinese government withdraws its illegitimate oil rig from Vietnamese waters, Dan Tri reported.
On May 1 the state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) moved a US$-1billion oil rig into position in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and deployed more than 80 ships to guard the rig, leading to several tense encounters with Vietnamese patrol ships.
Vietnamese people have held rallies across the country to protest China’s latest move.
However, some of the rallies in the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai turned violent on Tuesday and Wednesday, after hundreds of people broke into foreign companies (including those owned by Taiwanese firms) and set fire to warehouses and cars.
Police have arrested some 700 people who allegedly incited and took part in the riots which resulted in looting and vandalism.
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