Tourism in China is rooted strongly in the belief that travelers should be taken to tourist factory shops where they will drop lots of cash on overpriced goods. The “factory” is a small workshop showing how goods such as jade, silk or cloisonne are produced, followed by a warehouse-sized shop of expensive fixed price goods. The guide and tour company get a large commission on how much tourists spend. Travelers are looking for companies who will provide tours and transportation to China destinations without this hassle, and The China Guide (http://www.TheChinaGuide.com ) is providing the right solution. The China Guide has a strict No Shopping Policy as this practice compromises the traveler’s experience and the integrity of the relationship between guest and guide.
Often not listed on itineraries, factory shopping stops are an unexpected detour which take time out of seeing the actual sights and cause tours to have a rushed feeling. Generally, the guide is obligated by the tour company to take guests there, so if tourists refuse to go, it causes friction. Companies can receive money just for bringing guests to factories, even if they do not buy anything.
If tours offer an especially low price, they will undoubtedly have shopping stops to make up for the costs. Many tour companies in China lure clients with low prices and then expect them to spend hundreds of dollars in tourist shops making up the difference with commission earnings. Both travel agencies and guides profit from these stops. A natural rift in trust can develop between the guide and clients, as it’s the guide’s priority to get tourists to spend money on souvenirs, not to show them China’s sights and culture.
Peter Danford, Managing Director of The China Guide explains, “With our No Shopping Tour policy, our guides are paid a fair wage, and we charge our guests accordingly. So we don’t need our guests to buy souvenirs in factories that are ripping them off. Our guides are able to form a friendship with our guests and do whatever suits them. We don’t rush people and they are free to spend as much time as they want at the Great Wall or other sights.”
The China Guide will still take guests shopping if they wish, but to non-commission local markets where purchases are a fraction of the price. An English-speaking guide will help travelers find and bargain for desired items at a fair price. See here for a Beijing Shopping Tour: http://www.chinatourbuilder.com/tour/itinerary_out.php?id=407
The No Shopping Policy applies to all of The China Guide’s tours. China travelers can design and customize tours without having the shopping hassle to worry about. Individuals, families or groups can map their route and pick their top destinations or select from one of The China Guide’s multi-city itineraries including their famous Sleep on the Wall tour. Popular tours this winter season include trips to the Harbin Ice & Snow Festival. Information, photos and itineraries can be found here: http://www.TheChinaGuide.com/harbin