I read:

"Dumping tours" refers to package tours offered by travel agencies at unusually low prices, in which they usher tourists to stores and force them to buy overpriced products such as cosmetics, nutritional supplements and duty free items.

However, I only see the term "Dumping tours" used to describe these tours in South Korea. This makes me wonder if that term is only being used in "South Korean English". I did find one use of the term "dumping tours" in Ireland, but that is literally a tour to dump garbage, not tourists.

Is the term "dumping tours" a generic English term to designate the type of tours described in the above quote?

  • 2
    How long could such a business practice survive? Not long enough to earn a special designation, surely? Disgruntled customers wanting refunds / compensation, no repeat business or word-of-mouth recommendation. Sounds like an insane startup idea to me. Commented Mar 4 at 1:23
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    How on earth do they 'force' people to buy those products? What happens if someone refuses? Commented Mar 4 at 9:07
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    I've never heard the term. I'm British.
    – Richard
    Commented Mar 4 at 13:01
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    @GeorgeHawkins Honestly, kaffeefahrt seems like a great loanword to English for the concept; the humorous potential eggcorn only adding to the charm.
    – DotCounter
    Commented Mar 4 at 16:18
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    As a German, I wholeheartedly recommend the term kaffeefahrt! From German Kaffee ('coffee') and Fahrt (not 'fart', but 'trip'/'outing'), a euphemistic term for a 'cheap coach [tour bus] trip combined with a sales show', usually aimed at seniors instead of tourists though.
    – user134593
    Commented Mar 4 at 20:17

8 Answers 8


The term is not familiar to me. So it is either a term only used in Korean contexts (perhaps as a translation of a Korean one) or a term used by travel agencies. It would be unlikely to be understood without explanation.


I am from England, and have never heard the phrase


We all haven't heard of it, because we're not Chinese tourists/tour operators/government ministers/etc. From reading the linked article, and then doing a search and finding e.g., https://inf.news/en/travel/368deac928c23d90df8d73175fbc0dbd.html , it seems it's the Chinese (and maybe the Koreans) who made up the term for this particular problem. Certain Chinese tour operators are selling group travel at prices below the cost of the transportation and accommodations, expecting to make up the difference (and then some) by receiving kickbacks from shopping stops on the tours. Needless to say, this only works if they tell the tourists that buying a certain amount is a required part of the deal.

One does hear "dumping" used to mean "selling products below cost" (i.e., dumping them onto the market) -- which might be where "dumping tour" came from.


"Dumping tours" refers to package tours offered by travel agencies at unusually low prices, in which they usher tourists to stores and force them to buy overpriced products such as cosmetics, nutritional supplements and duty free items.

Sounds more like what are called "tourist traps". Get the tourists in & sell them overpriced gewgaws.

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    "Tourist trap" describes an overpriced restaurant, souvenir store, etc. that exploits a tourist's ignorance, laziness, and/or relatively high disposable income in order to charge more than they could from locals. I don't think it fits the practice of bringing tourists to some destination and leaving them there unless they buy shit. The stores themselves might be tourist traps, though. Commented Mar 4 at 11:43

I have heard the phrase "dumping stocks" which means quickly selling a large quantity of stocks and causing the price to fall.

And there's also the pump-and-dump scheme which involves quickly selling overpriced stocks before the price falls to normal.

Then, there's the usage mentioned by Tom Hundt which involves selling (typically a lot) of items below their normal price, or even below their cost.

These usages all share a common element with "dumping tours," in that the seller wants to make a lot of sales. However, I've never heard of "dumping tours" before, and if I had, I would have thought of a bathroom activity before I thought about any of the above.

So, I would guess this is a Korean thing and that it's an extension of one of the idiomatic, similar-sounding phrases in English.


I have never heard this term (Canada/USA English). The term for this practice that I have heard from contact with Chinese tours is "forced shopping". As well as tourist sites, participants are taken to shops where the operators earn a commission from sales, with varying degrees of time devoted to shopping and pressure to buy, as I understand it. I have never experienced anything too unpleasant, but there are stories.

I think this practice exists in all countries with substantial tourism, though it's more subtle in some places. Even in Canada (PEI) I've experienced it. If they take you to a really unique place that has unusual tchotchkes you may appreciate it, even if it's not the lowest cost place around.

I would not be surprised if there is a different English term for it in Korea.


Not English English

As an English person, this is not a phrase in my language. I couldn't say about American or Australian English for sure, but I've never heard it in any media from those countries, so I'm betting against it.

England does have the concept of a "booze cruise". Taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are much lower in France, so it is common for people to take a same-day-return ferry crossing across the English Channel, purely to load their car with cheaper products. A similar thing happens with US states, where taxation in different states makes it cheaper to cross the border for some things; or of course where something is legal in one state and illegal in another. They don't have such a snappy name for it though. :)

This is a bit different from your situation though, because these are trips to buy things you definitely want; whereas your example is a trip where you get conned into buying things you don't want.

  • With no sales tax in New Jersey, it is (or at least was) quite common for New Yorkers to cross the border to do their shopping, particularly for durable goods (clothing, etc., not food items). My grandparents took me from Mid-town Manhattan to Jersey for clothing shopping more than once.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 6 at 19:37

In Thailand which confronted a similar problem a few years ago these are generally called "zero dollar tours" in English:

https://so05.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/spurhs/article/view/193289 https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/general/2552350

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