The Ha Long Bay Management Board is intending to raise excursion and accommodation fees for one night from VND550,000 to VND950,000 per traveler ($42). The fees would be VND1.3 million instead of VND750,000 for two-night stay on Ha Long Bay.
Though the Quang Ninh provincial authorities affirmed they have not approved the plan, travel firms and the public have voiced their strong opposition.
|The Ha Long Bay Management Board is intending to raise excursion and accommodation fees for one night from VND550,000 to VND950,000 per traveler ($42). The fees would be VND1.3 million instead of VND750,000 for two-night stay on Ha Long Bay.|
The senior executive of a Hanoi-based travel firm said while travel firms are trying every possible way to reduce tour fees, localities have been raising fees.
Meanwhile, Quang Ninh is not the only province which raises excursion fees.
“They (local authorities) want to set higher excursion fees, but the quality of service cannot improve. This will discourage travelers,” he said.
He went on to say that in Thailand, with just $42, travelers can enjoy 2-day-1-night tour with sufficient services, from meals to hotel rooms, tour guide, coaches and hospitality. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the amount of money is just enough for the excursion fee on Ha Long Bay.
Analysts say the sudden excursion fee increase will put big difficulties for travel firms. In general, the firms have to design tours and sell tours several months in advance. This means that they cannot adjust the tour fee when the excursion fee increases.
Vu The Binh, deputy chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said the increase of excursion fee at destinations needs to be implemented in accordance with roadmaps. Local authorities need to be informed about the fee increase plans six months or one year in advance.
The representative of Saigontourist warned that the excursion fee increase may ‘do more harm than good’.
“If the admission tickets become more expensive, travel firms will lead travelers to other excursion points. This means that local authorities will lose visitors,” he explained. “Therefore, it would be better to think carefully before deciding to raise fees.”
He commented that now is the time for involved parties to join forces to cut service fees to lure more travelers, rather than raise fees to drive travelers away. Service providers should think of developing tourism in a sustainable way, instead of a short-term development strategy.
Tran Thi Bao Thu from Fiditour voiced her concern that Vietnam would become uncompetitive with Thailand and other destinations if it has to raise tour fees.
“If service fees increase, the tour fees will increase proportionally, which will make tourism products less competitive,” she said.