A Chinese travel influencer with nearly 4 million followers on Douyin has accused a tourist spot in Hubei province of “blind worship of foreigners”, sparking uproar on Chinese social media.
On September 10, the vlogger Lanzhanfei posted a video on Douyin accusing staff at a Tang dynasty-themed tourist attraction in Xiangyang city of discriminating against domestic tourists. He had reportedly paid 126 RMB (17.6 USD) to see a horse-riding performance featured at the site, only to find that the staff would not allow local tourists to stand or sit in front of an area reserved for foreign guests.
The performance was then postponed for seven minutes for some foreign guests who had arrived late, further enraging Lanzhanfei. “It is fine to greet your guests. You can shut the site and postpone the show however you like, but don’t humiliate me and my ticket money,” Lanzhanfei said in the video.
The tourist site issued a formal apology via their WeChat account on the same day Lanzhanfei’s video was posted and offered a free night access pass to those who had attended the performance that night. The letter did not mention the foreign guests or address the claim that they had been given preferential treatment over Chinese tourists.
While some netizens felt the apology was insincere, others turned on Lanzhanfei, accusing him of editing the video to make the incident appear worse and whip up rage. Some even went so far as to say the vlogger owes Xiangyang city an apology for damaging its reputation.
A Douyin user named Duojisheng posted a video from the same night that appeared to corroborate the theory that Lanzhanfei had exaggerated the incident. In the video, the site staff can be heard offering Lanzhanfei a seat with a better view and a refund for his ticket, but he declined.
In a 10-minute response video Lanzhanfei implied the ire directed at him was the result of a coordinated media attack by the tourist attraction staff, calling it a “conspiracy”.
“Many of you are saying I’m an evil influencer and I’m relying on smearing scenic spots to get attention. I hereby declare that I do a full livestream of every place I go to. If I ever actively smear the reputations of scenic spots, I will permanently withdraw from the platform!”