Zero-Fare Group Tours in China: An Analytic Framework

Chen Yong, Lui Ming Mak, Guo Yingzhi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This study addresses the problem of the so-called "zero-fare" group tours, a terminology that is believed to be originated in Chinese media to denote a sort of inferior quality in China's outbound package tours. Previous research on this problem failed, on the one hand, to define "zero-fare" group tours in a scholarly and systematical way and, on the other, to draw a line between the cause of "zero-fare" group tours and their factual matters-in short, a distinction between what they are and why they are. In this regard, this study presents the factual matters of "zero-fare" group tours derived from a content analysis of news reports pertaining to "zero-fare" group tours over the period 2003-2010 in China. Drawing upon these factual matters, this study proposes an analytic framework to portray the problem of "zero-fare" group tours to incorporate three fundamental elements, namely, low price in the source market, inferior quality at the destination, and the "zero-fare" relationship between outbound tour operators and inbound tour operators that jointly operate group package tours. Explanatory research based on this framework can therefore proceed to inquire into the mechanism by which this framework is manifested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-444
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of China Tourism Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • "Zero-fare" group tours
  • China
  • inferior quality
  • package tours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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