The number of Vietnamese visitors to China has plunged in the last two months, tour operators around the country report.
Tran Van Long, director of Viet Media Travel, said the number of bookings for China tours fell by 30 per cent of normal in June and July, from around 350 a month to just 100.
A Sai Gon Tourist Company spokesperson said this summer only 650 people have booked tours to China, nearly 30 per cent down year-on-year.
But numbers to Hong Kong and Macao have increased, she said.
Nguyen Thi Huyen, management director of Vietran Tour, said that due to the recession people are tightening their belts, which strongly affects tourism.
Vu The Binh, deputy chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, also blamed it on a complicate and expensive visa process, high tour costs.
In June and July Vietnam also saw a downturn in the number of Chinese tourists.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism reported that in June 79,000 Chinese tourists arrived in Vietnam, down by a third from the same month last year.
The figure in July was 90,700, down 13 per cent.