Random News

Shopping Stop Ban in Malaysia for China Tourist

China Bans Shopping Stops on Tours

Recently, a shopping stop ban in Malaysia for China tourist was the worst nightmare for tour companies that handle inbound Chinese tourist.

In early October 2013, the Chinese government enforced new regulations to ban tour agencies from offering packages that require travellers to stop and spend a minimum amount at sponsored shops on the way to their advertised destination.

How this has affected the large portion of inbound Chinese tourist to Malaysia is still unknown.

Shopping Stop Ban For China Tourist in Malaysia

Shopping Stop Ban China Tourist
Shopping Stops are common among China tourist.
Sources quote that a Beijing government official had said: "any travel agency undertaking shopping-oriented tours is liable to have its operations suspended and have to pay a fine ranging from 30,000-300,000 yuan (US$5,000-$50,000)." 

The law further bans travel agencies from organizing tours at unreasonably low prices to deceive tourists about their true nature and collecting commissions from the vendors whose stores they take them on their tours. Another source cited a rumour that the tour operator in China would be jailed if caught.

Speaking to some tour agents in Malaysia, they cited that this will hugely affect the tourism industry, but not much has been heard from the industry.

A source had also mentioned that those 'shopping stops' in Kuala Lumpur have also resorted to re-structuring their tactical move to counter the Chinese shopping ban in Malaysia. Apparently, there are loopholes mentioned by one operator.

Shopping Stops make heaps of money from touring the world over, where tour guides are given a 'commission' for the amount the tourist buys at each stop.

Coach or van drivers are also given a 'parking fee' for each time they stop at the selected store. In some cases, the travel company that arranged for the tour also gets a total commission for any purchases made during the tour. 

This shopping stop syndrome has been around for years, and I as travel, I have encountered this many times. Once in Siem Reap, I took a tuk-tuk to the Angkor Wat, and my Cambodian driver cum tour guide was a young tourism student who was learning on the go.

On our way back from the temples, he politely asked me if it is alright to make a shopping stop at one of the large souvenir shops. I  reluctantly told him that I was not a shopper, and he cleverly replied, 'it's alright, I will make a quick stop, you just go in and walk one round and meet me outside'. 

All he wanted was the commission in the form of petrol in a bottle. Yes, he would get one litre of petrol for free for everyone he brings to the shop, regardless of whether the tourist buys anything.

Seeing how honest he was about it, I eventually made him stop at three shops, and he got three litres of petrol which absolutely made his day.

China Shopping Stop Ban
Inside the Jade Factory in Beijing.
Another trip to Beijing in 2012, where I booked a tour to the Great Wall of China from the hotel lobby. 

As usual, I was grouped into a van with other tourists, and along the way, we made a stop at a popular Jade factory where it was quite interesting to see how they carved jade there.

After the Great Wall tour, we were exhausted and tired from the climb when the van and tour guide made a final stop at a silk factory.

Upon arrival, the tour guide was quite pushy, asking everyone to go in and have a look but out of the eight of us, only two went in while the rest waited outside.

When we were about to depart, the guide asked us in a no-so-happy manner why we did not go inside and we simply replied that we were not interested in silk. Her mood immediately changed and all the way back to the hotel, and she never uttered another word.

Back to Kuala Lumpur, how this ban will affect the tour companies that specialize in China's inbound tourism is still unknown.


With Visit Malaysia Year 2014 or VMY2014 around the corner, many are afraid of what will happen about the shopping stop ban in Malaysia for China Tourist.

Have you ever been to one of these shopping tours? If you have experienced it, do share it below in the comment form.


foongpc said...

Actually, I support the Chinese Government's move to ban this shopping stops. I have experienced it during tours and that's one reason why I hate tour groups. Prefer to travel on my own whenever possible! : )

Unknown said...

Thumb up for the Shopping Stop ban. This kind of unjustified practices are really disgusting. The tourists are forced to buy things not necessarily. Furthermore, the tour time is lost for the many stops. Nowadays I would travel around on my own without joining group tours which have shopping stops included.

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks guys, lets hope that tour groups are more productive in actually taking tourist to proper tourist spots. But we will see in the long run what happens.

Anonymous said...

Yes. More tourist spots and no shopping spree. Shopping should be the last itinery on request.

Travel Guide San Francisco said...

If you cant find something on markets like this, then it doesnt exists!

Orange Smile said...

Actually, very positive (while a bit controversial) enforcement. I was always getting irritated when we are dumped into series of shops during an organized tour. That's something you do not expect when you buy a tour for your own money.