HANOI, 23 May 2013: Hanoi’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked the tourism ministry to establish a tourist police force to protect visitors who it claims are victims of petty theft and scams in the Vietnamese capital.
Spain was the first country to establish dedicated tourist police patrols at tourist destinations, while Thailand was the first in Asia to create a similar police force.
The department’s deputy director, Mai Tien Dung, told local media, earlier this week, that there were daily complaints from foreign tourists claiming they were overcharged by taxi drivers and cheated by hotel employees.
WASHINGTON, 23 May 2013: A key US senator on Tuesday backed moves to end to US sanctions on Myanmar after a landmark visit by the country’s reformist leader, signalling a new normalisation in relations despite rights concerns.
President Thein Sein, a general-turned-civilian who ended Myanmar’s long isolation from the West, met lawmakers at the US Capitol one day after the first White House summit by a leader of his country in nearly 50 years.
Senator Mitch McConnell, who has spearheaded Myanmar sanctions for the past decade over human rights concerns, said after his meeting that he would not support a renewal of a ban on imports from the country formerly known as Burma.
HANOI, 22 May 2013: Vietnam should map a careful strategy to maximise profits from a booming Russian travel market, according to Sai Gon Tiep Thi (Saigon Marketing) a local media outlet.
In the opinion piece, the publication said Russian tourists were flocking to coastal destinations in Binh Thuan province, Ninh Thuan province and Nha Trang town turning the market into one of the most important travel sources for the country.
It quoted a local tour company based in Ho Chi Minh City, Lua Viet Tours’ chairman Nguyen Van My who said destinations were almost entirely relying on Russian visitors.
DANANG, 21 May 2013: Six agencies in Danang will collaborate to crackdown on tourist related scams to help build tourism competitiveness.
The city’s six agencies are: Public Order Police Department; Danang’s 115 Emergency Centre; local market management agency; Transport Department’s traffic inspectors; Aviation Security Centre; and Danang Visitor Centre.
They will support local police to deal with accidents, robberies, fraud, rip-offs that involve foreigners.
KIEN GIANG, 21 May 2013: An island destination near the Mekong River delta, Phu Quoc, needs more hotel rooms and better airline connectivity from neighbouring countries.
Kien Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism director, Le Minh Hoang, told the local media that due to the growth in tourism, Phu Quoc Island needed around 3,000 new hotel rooms over the next two to three years to meet increasing demand.
Phu Quoc Island welcomed around 38,000 tourists per month at the start of the year, but the monthly visits are now 70,000. The island has approximately 2,900 rooms, with only 600 rooms that are star ratings.
BINH THUAN, 20 May 2013: Car and motor cycle rental firms come under the hammer after Binh Thuan province authorities warned they will clamp down on foreigners renting and driving vehicles without driving licenses.
The provincial People Committee deputy chairman, Nguyen Thanh Tam, said the crackdown was needed due to a rise in accidents involving tourists.
“We consider security at tourist spots and tourists’ safety a top prioriy…If people are offering motorbikes for rent and are breaking the law we will slap them with a heavy fine or revoke their license.”
YANGON, 17 May 2013: Travellers who think they will be able to beat the fast food chains to Myanmar will need to think again. If the fast food chains are not already there they are clamouring at the door to set up shop as fast as possible.
Organisers of the MYANFOOD ’13 EXPO, an international food & drinks Show that will be hosted in Yangon, this November, identify what they call the fast-food revolution taking place in Myanmar right now.
They hope to canvass the food chains of Asia to attend and tap what is still an emerging market for the fast food boom.
BANGKOK, 15 May 2013: Nok Air plans to operate its first regionall flight connecting Thailand’s border town Mae Sot and Myanmar’s port Mawlamyine, later this year.
Nok Air chief financial officer, Vithai Ratanakorn, said the airline will operate service to Myanmar to tap the boom in business travel.
“According to the plan, we will serve the Mae Sot-Mawlamyine route in September and then Mae Sot to Yangon in October, while a Bangkok (Don Mueang) – Yangon route will start in November.”
PHNOM PENH, 14 May 2013: Cambodia Airlines plans to spend US$1.5 billion to acquire up to 22 planes, a move that might see the new airline’s fleet size overtake that of national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air.
According to Manila-based news network, Rappler, partners Philippine Airlines (PAL) and a Cambodian tycoon will spend US$1.5 billion to acquire new aircraft for Cambodia Airlines.
PAL’s part-owner San Miguel Corp and Cambodia Airlines will acquire 16 to 22 new aircraft to be used in code-sharing agreement flights between the two airlines.
PHNOM PENH, 13 May 2013: Cambodia’s tourist arrival growth rate could slow in the lead up to national elections this July a negative trend that was evident during previous elections.
Tourism Minister, Thong Khon, said there was always the slight possibility of political unrest and that could deter some visits, but he believed elections would be completed smoothly without risk to visitors.
“Tourists often postpone visits to a country during elections because they fear there could be political unrest, but election time is also something to witness in the capital,” the minister explained.