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Chinese tourist surge strains Vietnam's tourism services

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    Viet Nam News

Hanoi   /   Sun, July 10, 2016   /  09:30 am
Chinese tourist surge strains Vietnam's tourism services A view of a beach in Vietnam. (VNA/VNS Photo/-)

More than 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam in the first six month of 2016, a 47.5 per cent growth compared with the same period last year, straining its tourism industry.

The rocketing number of Chinese tourists coming to Vietnam in the first half of the year was putting pressure on the tourism industry, said the authority in charge yesterday, days after several Chinese tour guides were found working illegally in the country.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting the Southeast Asian nation in recent months “soared out of the blue”, said Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Director General Nguyen Van Tuan in its half-year review meeting on Friday, adding that Chinese visitor growth scored more than 47.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The latest VNAT report shows more than 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam in the first six months of 2016, making up roughly a quarter of the total international tourists visiting.

“The thing is that Vietnam tourism industry’s capabilities in terms of both personnel and services failed to adapt to such a sudden growth (of Chinese tourists),” Tuan said.

“Worse still, Chinese visitors do not spread evenly across the country but only focus on some tourism sites, particularly Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province and Da Nang.”

Da Nang was also where a Chinese tour guide – an illegal worker as Vietnam’s law bans foreign tour guides operating in the country - was reportedly recorded distorting the history and culture of Vietnam when introducing the country to a group of Chinese tourists late last month. A clip of the event immediately went viral on the Internet, prompting legal action from the local authority to curb such violations.

The central city of Da Nang on Wednesday decided to fine six Chinese nationals for the illegal operation of tourist services and for violations of resident laws in the city with 20 million dong (about US$890) each.

But in a complaint sent to Da Nang Tourism Department late June, a group of Mandarin-speaking Vietnamese guides in the city said that there were at least 60 such Chinese guides working illegally in the city, and most of the Chinese travel agencies serving Chinese tour groups disguised their operations with a Vietnamese licence, which were directed by Chinese managers.

Tuan acknowledged the illegal participation of the Chinese in the tourism industry, saying that VNAT has urged local authorities to immediately roll out strict measures to inspect and put tourism services under control.

They were asked to report the results of the implementation of these measures to VNAT by August 30.

On Wednesday, VNAT’s head also sent a letter to his Chinese counterpart Li Jinzao, asking for co-ordination in addressing violations of the law committed by a particular Chinese tourist in Vietnam last month.

On June 14, a Chinese man, Hou Genshun, burned a Vietnamese dong note in a Da Nang bar, severely violating Vietnam’s  law. He was deported two days later.

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