via Radio Free Asia, 14 November 2019: I’ve featured the problem of zero-dollar tours in Cambodia before, and the same thing is happening in Myanmar – tours operated by Chinese companies usually only serving Chinese companies, which leaves very little money flowing into the local economy. The story also highlights that misinformation is a another problem with such tours.
Tourists visiting Myanmar from China are entering the country more and more in groups set up to keep money in the hands of their Chinese guides and travel agencies, creating a growing problem for locals working in the tourism and hospitality industry, sources say.
Traveling in so-called zero-budget tours, the Chinese visitors to Myanmar lodge and shop only at places already approved, and eat only at restaurants selected by their guides.
These restrictions are now leaving workers in Myanmar’s tourist industry with less and less to do, one worker named Myo Naing told RFA’s Myanmar Service in a recent interview.
“We don’t have jobs now, and we don’t make as much money as we did before,” he said.
“If they don’t use licensed, professional tour guides, the problem that can arise is that they will get a lot of misinformation,” Tin Tun said. “Even though they are looking at the Irrawaddy River, they may be told it is the Inlay Lake.”