QUANG NINH, 10 April 2017: Quang Ninh’s Party Committee’s Communication and Education Commission says the province is cracking down on travel agencies and guides to improve the image of local tourism.
The province is famous for its national world heritage site of Halong Bay that draws millions of domestic and foreign tourists annually.
According to a Vietnam Net Bridges’ report that quoted the commission head, Cao Tuong Huy, three travel agents were fined and their international travel business licences revoked.
The authorities also imposed total fines of VND386 million (USD17,000) on 58 tour guides, halted the operations of 16 shops selling sub-standard or fake goods to Chinese tourists and punished four others for trade violations.
Travel companies are selling sub-standard services and cheating tourists prompting tough action by authorities.
State management agencies and the travel business community have fixed the floor price of each four-day three-night tour at VND1.7 to VND2 million (USD74.8 to USD88), according to the provincial Tourism Department vice director Le Minh Tan.
“The move will ensure tourism quality, while protecting travellers’ interests… further inspections will be carried out based on tour contracts to ensure sound management of international tours.”
The People’s Committee of Mong Cai city (Quang Ninh province) recently withdrew business licences from eight shopping malls as part of the efforts to clean the tourism business environment, the report added.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the province People’s Committee vice chairperson, Vu Thi Thu Thuy, to inspect souvenir shops and business centres which, according to local media reports, advertised as “only serving Chinese tourists” in the city.
The city’s People’s Committee is now reviewing all licences in a bid t crackdown on malpractice mainly by travel agencies.
“We have to create quality and ensure travel agents who represent such an important industry are up to standard and are not cheating tourists… the standards are low and travel agencies lack ethics, which is damaging tourism.”
Media reports claimed Quang Ninh province’s Tourism Department’s tourism inspectors issued 43 fines for violations of travel business regulations since early this year.
Quang Ninh is home to the World Natural Heritage of Halong Bay, hundreds of national relic sites and several famous resort cities such as Halong, Van Don, and Mong Cai.
According to the Department of Tourism, Quang Ninh currently has 157 accommodation establishments from one to five-star ratings, along with 47 travel firms and nine beaches for tourists.
The province welcomed 8.3 million tourists in 2016, a 7% increase year-on-year, including 3.5 million foreigners.