A Vietnamese tour guide talks with his foreign guests at the Temple of Literature – a famous tourist destination in Hanoi. – Photo thuathienhue.gov.vn
Deputy President of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VNTA) Vu The Binh said that the number of tour guides in Vietnam has increased sharply over the past years, to nearly 20,000 people at present. But in 2016 alone, the Government discovered 200 cases of fraudulent certification documents. In addition to legal violations, some tour guides lack necessary professional skills and fail to meet international tourists’ expectations. VATG aims to address those problems.
“The guides are the ones who meet and interact most with tourists,” Bình said. “That’s why the impression of tourists on their journey depends much on these guides. However, more than 50 per cent of the guides do not have social insurance. Working without supervision of any state agencies, it understandable that there have been recent problems relating to tour guides.”
The Law of Tourism 2017 prescribed the qualifications of tour guides, including that they must have tour guide card, be on staff at a specific tour agency or company or must be member of a social organisation related to tour guides. The VATG will serve as a social organisation that can provide necessary qualifications.
At the launch ceremony, Deputy Head of the Travel Department under the Vietnam Administration of Tourism Phem Le Thao said that the association filled an important need.
“The Vietnam Association of Tour Guides is a social organisation for Vietnamese citizens working as tour guides. The association will represent its member’s rights and legal interests. The association will not only help its members to sharpen their professional skills, but also will develop the network of its members,” she said.
The nature of tour guide work, she added, creates challenges for Government agencies seeking to regulate the industry.
“Although the management of tour guides and their activities has been improved slightly, it is definitely not an easy task because the number of tour guides is quite large, plus they are working freely and are frequent travellers,” she said.– VNS