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As Chinese businessmen are cashing in on the Russians
Material posted: Publication date: 17-05-2017

About how the people of China have learned to travel without investing a single penny into the economy of the country they visit.

Every day from St. Petersburg stumbles upon a bevy of Chinese tourists. They are everywhere: in the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul fortress, and in restaurants. "Well, well, — think of the inhabitant of our city. — In the budget of the Northern capital go a lot of money". As it is not so. Almost all spend in St. Petersburg, Chinese tourists have been sent back, to China.

The export of crime

Seventeen years ago Russia and China signed an agreement on visa-free group tourist trips. The number of Chinese tourists rose sharply after the depreciation of the ruble in 2014. The Chinese understand that in Russia they'll be more comfortable, and rushed into our country. They carried with them the dollar, and these financial flows interested unscrupulous businessmen from China. That is the nature of Chinese psychology: every yuan spent by the fellow countryman in another country, must return to China.

"In the shadow scheme, which work in our country "grey" Chinese tour operators, the figure of the guide becomes crucial, therefore, shadow entrepreneurs are struggling to oust accredited illegal migrant workers, says the CEO of one of St. Petersburg tour companies, who agreed to comment on condition of anonymity. Such pseudogod brings the group in a semi-legal Chinese restaurant, where tourists fed. They pay in cash. Then he's bringing his compatriots to a closed gift shop, which just so is not included. Here tourists are offered to buy articles of gold and amber, and sometimes fake. Illegal Chinese tour guide explains that amber helps from all illnesses, and Russian do not worship God, and gold, which covered the domes of all the churches. So you need to buy articles of gold, the sacred metal of Russian... it is Necessary to understand that all Chinese in school textbooks, in which it is written that the Russian Empire took from China, Siberia and the far East, the Chinese native land. Illegal guide says different stuff about a drunken Peter I and the wax doll of Lenin not so much because he knows nothing. He's doing this for ideological reasons".

According to statistics, in 2015, Russia moved 1 million 122 thousand Chinese tourists. On average, each visitor from China spends on this journey of 10 thousand yuan ($1.5 - 2 million). This amount includes the cost of the permit (5-8 thousand yuan), hotel accommodation, meals in Chinese restaurants, as well as the purchase of gold jewelry and amber souvenir shops owned by Chinese or affiliated with business China. The problem of illegal tour guide and representative of the tourism company to take the Chinese money. Under the shadow of the closed cycle most of the funds spent by tourists from China, is sent back to China in backpacks are not summarized, which is in each group.

"Chinese tourists are served by semi-legal and illegal companies from China, — says the Deputy Chairman of the Association of guides-interpreters with the Chinese language Pauline Rysakova. — Appear confined transboundary ethnic cartels. They work in the shadow diagrams. A group of Chinese tourists are served by the tour operator — Chinese tourists who bought vouchers. Well used Russian sites, and the profits sent back to China. Accredited Russian tour guides refuse to work for illegal schemes. Ousting them from the market, and in their place hire Chinese students who are willing to work for Commission. Professional guides-translators do not want to violate the law — and as a result remain without work. By the way, in China with Russian tourists are only local accredited Chinese tour guides".

At the March conference of guides and tour operators of Russia "Inbound tourism from China: how to fix" the speakers noted that the expansion of illegal business of China in the tourist market of the Russian Federation is due to the vagueness of the Russian laws and advance the interests of Chinese businesses, non-profit partnership "Association of international integration in tourism "Peace without borders"". This Association was created in 2002, four tour operators Academservice, "Intourist", "KMP" and "Express, Like travel." Almost the entire flow of Chinese tourists goes through the "World without borders".

According to Pauline Raskovoy, Russian tour operator to cater for groups of Chinese tourists, you need to get the list of the Specialized information system of the Federal Agency for tourism of the Russian Federation. It is enough to submit to the Federal Agency for tourism application. "But that's the theory, but in practice everything is different. For example, the St. Petersburg tourist company "best Drive" has been waiting for a resolution a year and a half and got it only after the intervention of the Federal Antimonopoly service", — she noted.

"Chinese illegal and semi-legal company, we do everything that want, — said General Director of "best Drive" Kira Zhuravskaya. — Chinese firms dumping, sell tours to Russia at low prices. One condition: the tour includes the mandatory shopping. Such scheme of work of tour operators in China is prohibited."

Moreover, tourists from China taking in Russia Chinese tour operators who at home been blacklisted. Since the Russian market is captured by unscrupulous Chinese entrepreneurs are honest firms don't work here.

As the Chairman of the Council of the Association of Russian-Chinese tourism Yuri Turcan, the expansion of Chinese tour operators increases proportionally to the number of tourists from this country.

"There is a growing number of Chinese representatives of these agencies that are working illegally in St. Petersburg. They take the bread out of the Russian tour operators cater to Chinese tourists at dumping prices", — said the expert.

At a tourism event in Sochi, the Executive Director of "World without borders" Svetlana Pyatikhatki gave an interview to the newspaper "Izvestia", in which he said: "the Use of Chinese guides is inevitable, we do not have the required number of guides". According to her, Russian tour guides are not fluent in Chinese language.

Experts refute this statement — in Russia, about 120-140 universities train specialists in the Chinese language, thousands of graduates a year. The profession of tour guide is very popular. So, the problem is not the shortage of specialists, and to block their employment from the shadow economy.

Objecting to accusations of monopolization of the market of Chinese tourism, the official representatives of the "Travel Association "World without borders"" said to "Rosbalt" that their organization for 15 years serves as a platform for the development of Russian-Chinese tourism: "Since the founding of the Association members increased from 5 to 200, and the number of visiting Russia as tourists from China — from 157 thousand in 2005 to 1.3 million people in 2016. Among the 140 operators included in a "World without borders", 88 from Moscow and 25 — with the Petersburg residence permit. It would be strange to call such a situation "mobilizacja" Chinese inbound tourism market. This market has been and remains open to any tour operator, included in the Federal register of the Federal tourism Agency for inbound tourism".

According to employees of the Association, the accusations against her do not come from the operator community of St. Petersburg, and "from the head of one company, which this year is no longer a member of the "World without borders"".

"As for the Northern capital, here in recent years really showed all the "bottlenecks" increased tourist arrivals from China and, by the way, not only from China, but tourism in General. This is the problem of growth, it is complicated, and "World without borders" in cooperation with the city administration, professional community, and dialogue in Chinese tourist authorities will continue to work on resolving them," they say.

Thus, according to the Association, in 2016 in Russia came more than 760 thousand tourists from China, which is 41% more results 2015. About 48% of all tourist trips occurred in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In 2016, the city was visited by nearly 365 thousand Chinese tourists, which is 40% more than last year.

Drunk Peter

"Rosturizm" tried to legalize illegal Chinese guides, calling them accompanying. But this caused loud protests throughout the Russian tourism industry, and initiatives disown.

One of the Directors of the St. Petersburg travel company explains that the massive Chinese tourism, there are about fifteen years and, like any new phenomenon, has its growing pains. The first export of Chinese shadow schemes felt the countries of South-East Asia. Then — Europe and the United States. They have developed a complex of measures to protect local markets from exports of criminal schemes of China. From them are protected in China, in 2013, there was adopted the law on tourism, which has put a barrier in the way of "gray" travel agencies. Unscrupulous tour operators were included in the black list. After the adoption of the agreement on visa-free exchanges between Russia and China, these firms have moved their activities into the Russian Federation.

Illegal scheme Chinese tour operators harm the economy of the Russian Federation. Because the guests from China don't bring income to the state that is visited. They amortize the monuments and moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow on the trains, which are known to be subsidized. For example, a group of Chinese arrived in Veliky Novgorod. They are visiting the monuments outside, go to the Cathedral, the entrance to which is free, lunch at a Chinese restaurant and leave. In the city budget remains 0 rubles.

But besides the economic damage, Russia is still image, the loss of reputation. The nonsense that has been told of illegal Chinese guides who do not know the history and culture of Russia, creates in the imagination of tens of thousands of Chinese distorted image of the country.

On top of that, Chinese tourists bad food, bad carry on the buses and provide services of poor quality. For example, an illegal Chinese tour guide collecting money from tourists — a tip for the bus driver to help them with the Luggage. However, the difference goes to pseudogod. Tired the driver brings the heavy suitcases, the guide explains: "the Russian did not want to work and cheat all the time".

As the experts believe, to say that the flow of Chinese tourists is increasing from year to year, it would be a mistake. In absolute terms, Yes, the growth is there, although last year he slowed down. In 2015 the border with Russia crossed the 1 million 122 thousand Chinese tourists. But this is only 1% of all Chinese people traveling abroad, and this proportion has not increased for many years. Russia in the eyes of the people of China have become cheap and unattractive country. However, the Chinese older popular so-called "red route" — places associated with Lenin. These tourists come to Ulyanovsk, Kazan, Moscow. But on red square, a Chinese tour guide tells them that the mausoleum is a wax doll, because it is impossible to maintain the body of the leader in such good condition for nearly 100 years. The guide continues to carry complete nonsense, saying that a drunken Peter the great shot of the Tsar Cannon at the Tsar Bell, and so he broke off a piece; Russian men are not able to work and drink a lot, why Russian women want to marry Chinese, etc.

How to protect from criminal schemes in the Chinese tourism? The world tourism organization to the United Nations has developed recommendations on the protection of the local tourist markets. For example, in Thailand, which before the others collided with a Chinese illegal schemes, guide-interpreter can only be local. A tour company should employ at least five employees who are citizens of Thailand. Even the world trade organization, advocating for the free circulation of goods and labor, believes that the guide-interpreter can only be a citizen of the host country. The WTO protects the guide, the carrier of the national culture, a tool to protect the local tourism markets.

In the state Duma for several months is the law in which black and white says: guide can only be a citizen of the Russian Federation. But deputies do not hurry to accept it.

Meanwhile, according to the CEO of one of St. Petersburg tour companies, a system which developed after the appearance of the non-commercial partnership "World without borders", allows specific individuals to receive about $10 from each arriving in Russia Chinese, and reach there at least some money to the Russian economy — the beneficiaries of this business do not care.

In turn, Vladimir Simonyan, Director General member of the Association "World without borders" the company "Rus-inter", said that "grey schemes", which are practiced in their work by unscrupulous Chinese operators, arose for several reasons. "With the aim of attracting more tourists tours from China to Russia are sold at below cost, says Simonyan. — Including the use of "naked" program (without entrance tickets, meals and excursions) to compensate for the difference due to the imposed shopping and the subsequent receipt of commissions from the shops with shopping tourists. Price and fee increase due to the appetites of the accompanying Chinese illegal guides and tour guides who need the most out of tourists all that is possible. Plus, sales of the Chinese guides additional services and entrance fees to tourists and other screenings at rates exceeding three to four times their face value, providing food at the lowest prices and quality, etc. Shopping and implement additional services at inflated rates become a fundamental part of all Chinese tourist arrivals. Thus Russia looks in the eyes of Chinese tourists as not the cheapest country with poor food, and besides not having qualified guides who could competently and interesting to conduct tour programs, the objects of impressions."

"As for tourist groups arriving for a group visa-free lists, it is necessary at the legislative level to 'loop' and lead to addiction services included in the minimum compulsory package, — says Vladimir Simonyan. — For example, when making a group visa-free list by the host company must be stated explicitly at least two services: information on accommodation, transfers and possibly nutrition. When you check such a group in the hotel booking has to be from the same host company or from the other Russian companies that have a contractual relationship with the host company. To date, any requirement on the order of registration of the group list... So it will be possible to control the actual number of tourists taken by Russian companies, and not the "phantom" semi-legal or illegal structures."

According to Vladimir Simonenco, Association "World without borders" has repeatedly stated the importance of working with Chinese tour groups is the Russian citizens. "In December last year, the Association expressed this view in the corresponding letters sent to the Ministry of culture, the state Duma and the Federation Council. Among other things, they noted that "the industry urgently needs qualified professionals with knowledge of the Chinese language, owning professional knowledge, socio-cultural skills and ability to represent our country to foreign guests. For example, the lack of guides in Moscow felt from the beginning of the high season, which is about to begin. Besides, in my personal opinion, operators need a real stable rates of domestic guides, which could be lean in the preparation routes and programs, — said Vladimir Simonyan. — Today they are virtually absent, which leads to difficulty in calculations and the actual reception of groups. Again, I Express my own point of view: if you bring to service Chinese tourists Chinese guides and interpreters, this should be done only in accordance with the Russian legislation, after training and obtaining the necessary qualifications and provided through cities or museums accreditation procedures".

According to some experts, to coordinate intergovernmental visa-free tourism exchange with China must not Association, and the local Executive authorities and Federal bodies in the sphere of tourism. The Russian tour operators should be given the right to provide Chinese tourists a full range of services. Shadow then Chinese companies will be forced out of the Russian tourist market.

Igor Sergeev


Tags: Russia , China

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