Cruise ships in Hạ Long Bay receive few tourists these days. — Photo laodong.vn
QUẢNG NINH — Although the northern province of Quảng Ninh is still a safe destination open to tourists, cruise ship owners on Hạ Long Bay have asked to stop operations due to financial difficulties.
According to the Quảng Ninh Inland Waterway Port Authority, only about 10 cruise ships departed Tuần Châu tourist boat port on August 9, taking a few hundred tourists around Hạ Long Bay.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the central city of Đà Nẵng, Hạ Long Bay used to welcome over 10,000 passengers per day during the week and the figure was normally two to three times higher at weekends.
However, in the past two weeks, 500 cruise ships on the bay have served around 100 to 200 tourists per day, according to the representative of Quảng Ninh Inland Waterway Port Authority.
Therefore, the owners of the cruise ships on Hạ Long Bay have sent letters to the Hạ Long Tax Department asking to suspend operations.
“My ships have stopped working since August 1 and I have sent an official letter to the tax authority asking to suspend the operation of my ships until the end of August in order to avoid tax of VNĐ8 million (US$345) per ship,” said cruise ship owner Nguyễn Văn Minh, adding that he would continue to suspend his business if the situation did not improve.
According to Nguyễn Văn Phượng, deputy director of Hạ Long Tourist Boat Association, stopping each vessel would save the owner from VNĐ7 - 10 million ($302-432) in taxes.
“The customers are few so there might only be one trip per week, which does not offer sufficient revenue to pay tax. We have suggested calculating the tax by trip or the number of passengers in the current situation but this has not been approved by the authority,” he said.
Presently, over 500 cruise ships in Hạ Long Bay offer jobs for thousands of employees. However, during the pause of operations due to COVID-19 since December of last year, the ship owners and staff have not been included in the list of recipients of the Government’s VNĐ62 trillion ($2.6 billion) financial support package. — VNS