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The Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism recently sent an official letter to local Tourism Departments nationwide saying local companies that employ foreigners as tour guides in Viet Nam should be strictly dealt with, to the extent of having their business licences revoked.
The request is a reminder of the 2005 Law on Tourism, which clearly states that businesses operating in Viet Nam can only hire Vietnamese tour guides. Several countries in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines, also have similar regulations.
The reminder follows up on the fact that over the past years, a large number of businesses have employed expatriates to work as tour guides, especially for clients from South Korea, China and Russia. Concerns have also been expressed that expatriates working as tour guides may not provide accurate information on the history and culture of Viet Nam, and may even distort the country's image.
What is your opinion on this issue? Have you ever joined a tour led by a non-Vietnamese tour guide? How would you describe the experience? Who would you prefer to have as your tour guide - foreigner or Vietnamese? Do you think the law is reasonable or that it would affect the tourism industry's growth? Are foreign tour guides allowed to work in your own country?
Please reply by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can also be mailed to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 79 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi. Replies to next week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, March 27, 2014. — VNS