That'll be 5000 extra cos you're a foreigner

I don’t know if this is usual but I found a good deal with EZTravel to Beijing in a couple of weeks time. But, later they called to say that actually it will be 5000 extra between us as we are not Taiwanese - apparently this is the hotel’s policy (one of these 5* international types).

Has anyone else experienced this?
Is it just the travel agency trying to make some more cash?

I haven’t booked as I don’t like to be taken advantage of and feel that it’s pretty unfair. It’s a cheap deal though even with the 5000 on top.


Discriminatory pricing is quite common in China. You’ll also notice that the ticket prices for tourist sites have different prices printed in English or Chinese. Even Taiwan hotels charge differently based on where you are from, however they will usually accept an ARC to give you the local price.

It’s also common in Vietnam. I remember people complaining about it there and maybe it is wrong, I don’t know, but it didn’t bother me because we westerners are so much richer than the average Vietnamese, corruption is so rampant there, and everything was so cheap anyway. But in Taiwan, which is more developed, wealthier and more observant of international norms, it might be more objectionable.

I’ve never been overcharged (that I know of) in Taiwan because I’m a bairen. This is one of the few places in Asia that isn’t openly discriminatory with a dual-price system.

Well, except for some shady taxi drivers, but c’mon, like they don’t have price-gouging taxi drivers in every country in the world.

Wow…that is pretty bad… but i guess it is normal?! :unamused:

Some of these “resident only” offers are nothing more sinister than a marketing ploy to get locals who would never set foot in the place to sample the wares, and hopefully be so impressed they’ll come back for a big spend. Some of it of course is just tourist fleecing. I’m not sure which category yours is in.

I’d feel sorry for them…NT$5000 between you sounds like the cost of an economy-class ticket on China Airlines for Hong Kong (maybe they’ll fly someone over there to get your visas?) in which case it’s an awful risk for them… :shock: :laughing:

So discrimination is ok with you. :unamused: Thanks MT, you’ve just reconfirmed my opinion on human nature. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I have booked travel packages (for travel within Taiwan) on EZ Travel several times and also did not have problems with price changes afterwards because I booked with an ARC.

Most likely the extra charge is Beijing related, as aforementioed earlier.

Well, 2 days ago (12/30) I got a quote of nt$14,500 for 3n/4d in Bali, air ticket included, travel this CNY. About 2 hours later, my travel agent called to say that the price had to be increased by nt$3000 because I’m an American.

That’s using a Taiwanese travel agent. Anybody have any names they care to share, travel agents that do NOT discriminate? (PM is fine, too)

China does this all the time. Foreigners pay the most, followed by Chinese people from places like Hong Kong and Taiwan, and locals get the best prices, much better than any Taiwanese could get, so actually they’re discriminated against as well, just for a lesser amount. At least now they aren’t using the “foreign exchange certificates” and letting foreigners use actual PRC currency.

About fourteen years ago, when I lived in Yunlin County in Taiwan, I was often charged a lot more for things . . . a friend from Taipei would sometimes help me out by having me go into a store and then I’d come out and tell her what I wanted and she would go in and buy it for me, after comparing prices we found she always got better deals. She told me the order was Foreigners Pay the Most, then Folks who Speak Mandarin but Not Taiwanese, then Taiwanese, then Locals or Friends who got the best deals.

In Taipei, a former waiguoren colleague would hide in the bathroom whenever a repair man came to their home so his Taiwanese wife would negotiate the prices and the like. I have never hidden in the toilet in my own home but my wife does do all the talking in any sort of business . . . but then she’s a lot smarter about things like that than me so even in the States she handles our money affairs. :slight_smile:

I think it is right that we question why westerners or foreigners are charged more for certain things in China and Taiwan but I also think we as westerners should recognise that foreigners are also often discriminated in our home countries. In Australian universities foreign students who are mostly from Asian countries pay up to and probably more than five times as much for studying the same course as an Australian student does. My Taiwanese girlfriend payed more than five times as much for studying a similar course at the same university as me. I mean I really can’t see how that can be justified. The only reason that our universities can stay afloat is because foreign students have to pay exorbidant course fees. I feel sorry for alot of these students that are being ripped off. Quite a few come from wealthy families but there are also many international students who not particularly wealthy and most of their parents life savings are wasted on an overpriced international education.

There are also many cases where immigrants professional qualifications are just not recognised in our country. There are many immigrants who are qualified doctors in their native countries but instead have to work as taxi drivers in Australia even when we have a desperate shortage of GPs especially in rural areas. This is because our country has a superiority complex and does not recognise their qualifications and forces them to repeat their course the Australian way while charging them the ridiculous course fees that are charged for non Australian citizens.

I would imagine that discrimination like this also exists in countries like the U.S, Canada and the U.K. but I am not sure it does to the same extent that it does here. Can anyone from these countries or other Western nations describe how international students or professional immigrants are treated in their own country? Erick

In the US we don’t just discriminate in the price of tuition against those from outside of hte US, but also against those from outside of the state. Probably every state charges less for in-state tuition and in my mind that’s fair. The U of California is a great system. As a California citizen I pay taxes to the state and I vote in state elections. One of the perks I get is reduced tuition at state schools. If a student wants to come from the East coast and fill one of the coveted seats at UC Berkeley is it wrong to charge a little extra to this outsider? Seems OK to me. Likewise, if I decide to attend some other state’s U I’ll accept taht I have to pay out of state tuition. Is this any different?

Education in most western countries is heavily subsidised through taxation paid for by parents/students/ in general everyone. So it’s fair that the tuition rates should be cheaper than for outsiders who didn’t contribute. I wouldn’t expect anything else, nowadays.

However, taxes that pay for education costs at University, then students still have to $$$$$ for that. That seems unfair. Be taxed heavily and still have to pay a ton of tuition fees.

Also, advanced level education, such as Master’s/Ph.D, though essential for some careers, can at best be considered a luxury; whereas primary education is essential for everyone. So, foreign students don’t HAVE to study at a particular institution, since most Asian countries have decent schools nowadays. It is a luxury and it is their choice.

Are they being taken advantage of? Well, … Only in so much as all students/parents are, I guess.

BTW, I have to pay the international fees of UK schools now because I have been away for too long! It’s kind of not fair, but then, I think my argument still stands…

Sure I do think foreign students should pay more the reasons that you have both mentioned but I still think having to pay fives times as much as a local student is a little excessive.

It works both ways. The average Taiwanese pays alot more to stay at local hotels than foreigners. Asiatravel will book you a room at the Dashi Resort for only NT$2600 a night - if you aren’t Taiwanese passport holder. :laughing:

I don’t know what it is like in Australia, but in California at least the out-of-state (and foreign) tuition rate is still very cheap compared to a good private university. And the UC system has a very good reputation too, especially Berkeley and UCLA.

That’s a complete red herring.

The reason overseas students pay more is that the education system is still largely paid for by the government, which means by taxes. When I went to uni in New Zeland, tuition was paid for about 20% by the student and 80% by the state. Overseas students paid full fees - so like you said 5 times as much. Nothing wrong with that at all.


I think people are getting distracted from the main issue: someone is getting charged extra in order to stay in a five-star hotel. That is not because it is a taxpayer-funded hotel, and it’s not done in order to keep prices cheap for the poor peasant farmers who would be filling up the rooms if only those darn foreigners weren’t catered to instead. It is because this policy, despite all the pretty-sounding justifications, is fundamentally racist in its application. I know, because I lived with it for a year.

I had heard that it had been abolished and am much grieved – but not particularly surprised – to hear that it survives.

Double-pricing as practiced in China is racist and a cancer upon civil society. I have nothing good to say about it.