The China Tourism Association (CTA) is formulating a set of guideline pricing for domestic tour itineraries, set to be released before the summer peak season for reference by travelers.
Two major operators’ price slashing exposed
The move comes as more major tour operators are offering tour packages at unreasonably low prices. Beijing CYTS advertised in Beijing on May 18 for two super-cheap Yunnan tours – one six-day tour to Dali, Tengchong, Ruili and Luxi costs only RMB800 including return flights while the other six-day tour to Kunming, Dali and Lijiang is only RMB590 with return flights. Beijing-based Ocean International Travel also advertised on the same day a six-day tour to Kunming, Dali and Lijiang with return flights for RMB880.
Spokespersons from both tour operators have acknowledged that those advertised were slashed price products and that they have delisted them. A Beijing Tourism Committee spokesperson said both operators must submit a corrective action report by next Monday at the latest.
Pricing standard for domestic tourism to be released
Commenting on the cases of the Yunnan tours, the director of CNTA’s monitoring and management division Zhikai Peng said that the tour prices were unreasonable as transportation already costs the bulk of the fees. Such pricing would lead customers to miscalculate the real cost of the trips and unable to enjoy quality service.
“However the average customer has absolutely no clue as to how much a reasonably priced tour should cost. The CTA is now working out a guideline for reasonable prices in popular domestic destinations and tour itineraries and it should be released in time for the summer peak season,” Mr. Peng said.
Tour travel only 4% of total domestic trips
Chinese travelers made 3.6 billion domestic trips last year, 4% of them on tour groups. “ We predict that domestic tourism will grow to 6 billion trips by 2020 and the trend for independent travel will get stronger,” Mr. Peng said. Tour travel is losing its appeal to consumers, prompting tour operators to change their mode of operation. “In the past consumers choose tours from a menu, but now tour operators are scrambling to cater to customers’ needs a-la-carte, emphasizing the individualization of offers,” he said.(Translation by David)