Say No to Forced Shopping Stops
Forced shopping is cancer in the organized tour business. It is very profitable for tour companies but also a main reason that sophisticated travellers are hesitant to go on organized tours. Consumers with the means who happen to think their time is valuable should avoid operators engaged in such deplorable conduct.
China tours Subsidized by the Government?
Some China tour operators offering seemingly dirt-cheap tours say their tours are subsidized by the Chinese government and therefore they are obligated to take the tourists to the government-owned stores. This is a fraudulent claim, a cynical scheme to exploit the ignorance and credulity of consumers who can’t live without bargains. Anyone in their right mind should wonder why the Chinese government is interested in subsidizing trips by overseas tourists when the country already holds the highest foreign exchange reserve in the world! It’s just ludicrous to even consider that the Chinese government would have time to fleece tourists when it is so busy overseeing the world’s second largest economy. China privatized most of its state-owned businesses including factories and department stores decades ago; there’s simply no reason for them to hang on to tourist stores.
One More Lie about Shopping Stops
You may have read somewhere that all China tour companies include forced shopping stops in their tours because the operators don’t have a choice. Such misinformation is understandable if it is from a credulous tourist duped by a tour company. If this nonsense comes direct from a tour company, you know you are dealing with a dishonest business.
Premiums Tours versus Cheap Tours
Expensive tours do not necessarily guarantee that you will not be marched through tourist shops while the cheap ones, regardless of the operators’ wild claims and promises, will certainly include repeated shopping stops, often in addition to a long list of optional programs offered at hugely inflated prices. They let the guides and drivers parade the groups through tourist stores so that they don’t have to pay the guides and drivers. Sometimes the guides and drivers have to pay the tour companies to buy tour groups – this is a standard practice among companies selling cheap China tours. In the end, the consumers get what they pay for – lots of time wasted at tourist stores, lousy food, cheap hotels located on the outskirts of urban centres, and tour guides with less than desirable knowledge and language skills. This may be the notion of a dream vacation for some, but definitely not for us.
Our tours have no forced shopping stops so that you can make the best use of your valuable time. During the tour we may patronize restaurants, museums and theatres where a souvenir store is attached. These visits are not shopping stops. You may want to ignore the merchandise as prices at these stores could be significantly inflated with no guarantee of good quality. Caution is advised if you are thinking of buying jade, furniture, carpet, paintings, tea and anything labelled as antique. China’s freshwater pearls dominate entry and mid-level markets around the world and the quality seems to improve year by year, but it’s not a great idea to go to China for expensive pearls harvested in Tahiti.
|We based our decision to book with Laurus on internet research and our initial office contact. It was such a great decision as our China trip was much more than we expected. We very much valued the small group size and the policy to avoid shopping stops. Our tour leader, Jacob, was excellent and we cannot say enough positive things about him. Our local guides were outstanding as well and we particularly want to recognize David in Guilin for his knowledgeable and scholarly discussions as well as his wicked sense of humour. Paul’s obvious love of Xi’an made our days with him very meaningful. We will definitely recommend Laurus Travel to others and have already done so.
Thanks to all of you who are involved in organizing your tours.