Vietnam PM pledges to end tourism scams

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Vietnam scamsVietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called for an overhaul of the country’s tourism sector as it seems that slower tourism growth has, to a certain extent, to do with the increase in tourism scams, swindling, extortion and hassling, especially in popular tourist destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sam Son Beach in Thanh Hoa, Ha Long Bay, Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Da Lat.

According to government statistics, the number of foreign tourists in Vietnam increased from 1.35 million in 1995 to nearly 7 million in 2012. The number of domestic tourists increased from 7 million to 33 million over the same period. In 2012, revenues from tourism were $7.59 billion, accounting for 6 per cent of the country’s GDP.

However, in the first half of 2013, the number of foreign tourists only increased by 2.6 per cent over 2012. The influx of foreigners to Vietnam increased 13.9 and 18.1 per cent in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The prime minister instructed relevant agencies to carry out “determined and detailed measures, which should be taken immediately to make Vietnam a safe and friendly tourist destination for the long term.”

Police have been instructed to step up patrols in urban centers and tourism destinations around the country to improve security during the peak season. Also, they must know foreign languages and act in a friendly manner to visitors. Petty thieves, aggressive street vendors and extorting taxi drivers must be “eliminated.”

“At each tourist destination that attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, an assistance center should be opened with a hotline for tourists to contact if they have a problem,” Dung was quoted by the government’s website as saying. He also ordered the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to increase fines on those found littering at tourist destinations, or hassling tourists.

The Ministry of Public Security has been told to study the feasibility of establishing a tourism police force.

According to George Adam, general manager of the Ho Chi Minh City-based tourism company Exotissimo Vietnam, petty thieves and bag snatchers are common at tourist destination worldwide, but the problem has worsened drastically in Vietnam over the past two years.

“Setting up a tourist police force that is fluent in English and other commonly spoken languages among tourists is a good idea that has been discussed many times,” he told Vietweek.

The main annoyances in Vietnam faced by tourists are overcharging by street sellers and taxi drivers, touts that are receiving permission for bringing tourists to certain hotels or shops, false temple guides, false beggars, dishonest tour operators and bike or jetski renters, “self-tipping” by restaurant staff, robbing on long-distance buses, plain theft and pickpocketing, drive-by thieves on motorbikes, and last but not least the infamous “kamikaze hookers” who roam beaches and streets in the night and approach not-so-sober male tourists, distract them with a huge hug and a few massage grasps and at the same time quickly empty their pockets.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called for an overhaul of the country’s tourism sector as it seems that slower tourism growth has, to a certain extent, to do with the increase in tourism scams, swindling, extortion and hassling, especially in popular tourist destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sam Son Beach in Thanh Hoa, Ha Long Bay, Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Da Lat.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vietnam scamsVietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called for an overhaul of the country’s tourism sector as it seems that slower tourism growth has, to a certain extent, to do with the increase in tourism scams, swindling, extortion and hassling, especially in popular tourist destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sam Son Beach in Thanh Hoa, Ha Long Bay, Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Da Lat.

According to government statistics, the number of foreign tourists in Vietnam increased from 1.35 million in 1995 to nearly 7 million in 2012. The number of domestic tourists increased from 7 million to 33 million over the same period. In 2012, revenues from tourism were $7.59 billion, accounting for 6 per cent of the country’s GDP.

However, in the first half of 2013, the number of foreign tourists only increased by 2.6 per cent over 2012. The influx of foreigners to Vietnam increased 13.9 and 18.1 per cent in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The prime minister instructed relevant agencies to carry out “determined and detailed measures, which should be taken immediately to make Vietnam a safe and friendly tourist destination for the long term.”

Police have been instructed to step up patrols in urban centers and tourism destinations around the country to improve security during the peak season. Also, they must know foreign languages and act in a friendly manner to visitors. Petty thieves, aggressive street vendors and extorting taxi drivers must be “eliminated.”

“At each tourist destination that attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, an assistance center should be opened with a hotline for tourists to contact if they have a problem,” Dung was quoted by the government’s website as saying. He also ordered the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to increase fines on those found littering at tourist destinations, or hassling tourists.

The Ministry of Public Security has been told to study the feasibility of establishing a tourism police force.

According to George Adam, general manager of the Ho Chi Minh City-based tourism company Exotissimo Vietnam, petty thieves and bag snatchers are common at tourist destination worldwide, but the problem has worsened drastically in Vietnam over the past two years.

“Setting up a tourist police force that is fluent in English and other commonly spoken languages among tourists is a good idea that has been discussed many times,” he told Vietweek.

The main annoyances in Vietnam faced by tourists are overcharging by street sellers and taxi drivers, touts that are receiving permission for bringing tourists to certain hotels or shops, false temple guides, false beggars, dishonest tour operators and bike or jetski renters, “self-tipping” by restaurant staff, robbing on long-distance buses, plain theft and pickpocketing, drive-by thieves on motorbikes, and last but not least the infamous “kamikaze hookers” who roam beaches and streets in the night and approach not-so-sober male tourists, distract them with a huge hug and a few massage grasps and at the same time quickly empty their pockets.

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