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 in-bound Chinese tourist. In early October 2013, the Chinese government enforced new regulations to ban tour agencies from offering packages that require travelers 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 in-bound Chinese tourist to Malaysia is still unknown. 

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 as to their true nature, and collecting commissions from the vendors whose stores they take them on their tours. Another source cited that there was rumor that the tour operator in China would be jailed if caught.

Speaking to some tour agents in Malaysia, they cited that this is definitely going to effect the tourism industry in a huge way 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 loop holes mentioned one operator.

Shopping Stops make heaps of money from tourist the world over where tourist 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 me as a travel has 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 petrol in a bottle. Yes, he would get one liter of petrol for free for everyone that he brings to the shop, regardless if the tourist buys anything or not. Seeing how honest he was about it, I eventually made him stop at three shops and he got three liters of petrol which absolutely made his day.

Shopping stops banned by Chinee Government
Jade Factory in Beijing, China
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 tourist 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 on 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.
Coming back to Kuala Lumpur, how this ban will effect the tour companies that specialize in China in bound 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 on one of these shopping tours? If you have experienced it, do share it below in the comment form.


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