Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Captive Market

Silk robe for sale.
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
One trend we didn't quite expect on our trip to Vietnam was the tendancy for tour guides to bring out the gift selection in the middle of the trip. I think that because the tours themselves are so inexpensive, the boat operators rely on the supplemental sales of drinks and merchandise to make a profit. Several times when we wanted to buy drinks at the various stops, our guide suggested we wait until we get back on the boat. They always had a good selection of canned and bottled beverages on board, so it wasn't a problem giving them our business.

Inevitably, there was also some other type of merchandise available as well. We first encountered this on our boat ride in Halong Bay when as we were returning to port, the hostess on the boat brought out a large assortment of pearl jewelry. We ended up buying several items as gifts.

On the Perfume River, during our boat ride from Hue, we were presented with all varities of silk robes and and locally manufactured name brand clothing The prices were very reasonable and we did end up getting a few items. My son is modeling the reversible silk robe that he selected.

In the Mekong Delta and around Saigon, the tour operators expected tips instead. Overall, I prefer the clothing and jewelry as tour operator revenue enhancement. At least the purchases qualify as souvenirs.

1 comment:

Dene' said...
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