Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Hà Nội’s Department of Tourism will ramp up surveillance of travel agencies and tour guides in the capital city to ensure a healthy and safe environment for tourists.
The solution was suggested at a meeting held in Hà Nội to identify ways of managing the rocketing number of tourist arrivals, particularly those coming from China.
The number of international tourists arriving in the city reached over 2 million in the first half of this year, an increase of 33 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to the city’s Department of Tourism.
Chinese nationals accounted for the highest proportion of foreign tourists to Hà Nội, with 250,000 visitors, an increase of 111.2 per cent compared with last year’s figure. They were followed by South Korea, Thailand and France.
Nguyễn Đào Dũng, deputy head of the Travel Department under the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, said the influx of foreign tourists had earned higher revenue for the sector. However, he said, it was difficult to prevent negative effects arising from tourism operations.
He said the city’s tourism sector should actively strengthen inspections to prevent unwanted incidents.
Vũ Thế Bình, chairman of Viet Nam Tourism Association, stressed the need for close management of travel operators and tour guides as well as suitable adjustment of the business conditions of tourism firms. Accordingly, if visitors break the law, tourism firms must bear the responsibility.
Meanwhile, Lê Mạnh Tú, head of Hà Nội Police’s immigration management office, asked tour operators to inform the police immediately if they notice any unusual activities amongst tourists.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung requested the Department of Tourism to strictly punish violations, including employing foreigners without a permit and distorting Việt Nam’s history and culture.
The city authority also ordered the department to initiate measures to ensure the legitimate interests of Chinese visitors are protected. The Hà Nội Police were asked to deport and ban foreigners from entering the country if they are found working illegally as tour guides.
In related news, the People’s Committee of central Khánh Hòa Province yesterday decided to fine Silent Bay Travel and Trade Company Limited VNĐ80 million (US$3,587) for employing foreigners without a permit and for not keeping records of tourists and other details related to their businesses.
Earlier, the company had been banned from organising tours for foreign tourists by the Việt Nam National Administration for Tourism after inspectors found it had illegally hired 64 Chinese people.
The company was also caught providing services to 6,187 tourists, mostly Chinese, from February to May this year without keeping adequate records of these guests.
The provincial authority has requested its Department of Tourism to tighten control over travel firms to detect violations in the tourism sector. Stricter penalties will be imposed on travel agencies found employing tour guides illegally or offering unauthorised services in the area.
Khánh Hòa Province received over 200,000 Chinese visitors in the first six months of this year, a five-fold increase from the same period last year. — VNS