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Chinese tourists in Vietnam offered refunds in wake of unrest in country

TRAVEL agencies in Shanghai have stepped up safety reminders for tourists in Vietnam after anti-China riots there, and have promised full refunds for those who want to cancel already paid trips to Vietnam.

The Shanghai Datong Travel Agency, which has 29 tourists in Vietnam now, said it had told them they can stay inside their hotel if they don't want to go out due to safety concerns. It reminded tourists not to go out alone and avoid visiting areas with protests.

There have been no problems reported by its tourists so far, and they have not passed areas with protest or riots, the agency learned after talking to some of its clients. The agency is sending another group on a Vietnam tour today, and none of the participants has asked for a refund, it said.

Sales of Vietnam tours were not been greatly affected, and tourists are informed of the current situation in Vietnam before they make up their mind regarding refunds, the agency said.

However, that trend may be changing. Online travel agency lvmama said it did not receive any tourist bookings or questions about tours to Vietnam in the last three days. It previously received about 20 to 30 people coming to learn about tours to the country every day, it said.

Online travel operator Ctrip said its traditional tour sends groups to Da Nang and Nha Trang, resort cities where no Chinese factories are located. It has taken some enhanced safety measures, but its groups have not been affected.

The China National Tourism Administration issued a safety reminder yesterday, suggesting that Chinese who plan to visit Vietnam cautiously consider their plans. It also reminded Chinese there to be aware of their surroundings and enhance their safety precautions.­

The number of Shanghai travelers taking organized group tours to Vietnam dropped 34 percent last year after two years of significant growth, according to the Shanghai Tourism Administration.

A total of 30,153 tourists from Shanghai visited Vietnam with organized tour groups last year.­­­


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