|Foreign tourists visit Hoi An Ancient Town in central Quang Nam Province. Tourist support centres will be set up in key tourism destinations to help prevent tourism scams. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam
HA NOI (VNS)— Deputy PM Nguyen Thien Nhan has ordered local People's Committees to set up tourist support centres to help prevent tourism scams.
Key tourism destinations such as Ha Noi, HCM City, Khanh Hoa Province and Quang Ninh Province should be the first to do so, he said.
The move was made following reports by some localities about cases of tourists being overcharged, robbed or swindled by local services, including Ha Noi, HCM City, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa, Da Nang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
These scams give visitors a negative impression of the country.
At a recent online meeting with tourism experts to discuss strategies to stop scamming, Nhan said the support centres would receive urgent calls and take quick action where necessary.
Tourism experts agreed that scams and overcharging were the main reason for a decline in foreign tourists.
Statistics from the National Steering Committee on Tourism showed that Viet Nam welcomed nearly 3 million foreign tourists in the first five months of 2013, down by 1.4 per cent year-on-year.
Nhan also ordered relevant agencies to collect information and cases in which tourists were scammed, particularly foreign tourists.
They were also told to increase information dissemination and instruct street vendors not to overcharge, swindle or follow tourists.
The Transport Ministry was asked to work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and People's Committees to tighten control over the operation of taxi firms, upgrade the bus network and prevent illegal taxis by installing electronic chips or using cameras.
The deputy PM instructed the MCST to work with local authorities to certify standard tourist service quality for qualified restaurants and shops, particularly in famous tourism sites, and publicise good examples.
Nhan has entrusted the Ministry of Public Securities to work with the MCST to build a plan to set up a tourism police force and increase inspections at tourist sites to prevent robberies.
He instructed the Viet Nam Tourism Association to co-operate with local tourism associations and travel agencies to organise training courses for local service providers.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam received more than 567,000 foreign tourists in June, or over 3.54 million altogether in the first six months of the year, representing a year-on-year rise of 2.6 per cent.
The number of domestic tourists is estimated to reach 2.4 million in the period, up 12 per cent over the same period last year.
Total revenue from tourism reached VND105 trillion (US$4.99 million), an increase of 23.5 per cent from the same period last year. — VNS