Da Nang's hotels, cruise lines face fines for ripping off tourists during holiday

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 A beach in Da Nang. Photo: Dieu Hien

Authorities in the central city of Da Nang are considering punishments for 154 local hospitality businesses which were found cheating and overcharging tourists during the recent holiday. 
The violators accounted for nearly half of 370 inspected businesses, including hotels, restaurants and tourist cruises, local media reported on Wednesday.
They will likely be fined a total of VND547 million (US$25,200), Tran Chi Cuong, vice director of the city's tourism department was quoted by news website VnExpress as saying.
Among them, a hotel faced the highest fine, VND20 million ($920), for falsely informing tourists that it was fully booked, but actually conniving with brokers in selling its rooms at higher rates.
The name of the hotel has not been disclosed. 
Cuong said relevant agencies are clarifying if the businesses or their employees were at fault.
Once they reach conclusions, they will name and shame the businesses to prevent similar situations from happening in the future, Cuong said.
Price listings
Prior to the six-day holiday which kicked off on April 28 to celebrate the Hung Kings' Temple Festival, the Liberation Day and the Labor Day, Da Nang's authorities had ordered local hotels to not increase their room rates by more than 50 percent.
They were also required to list their prices publicly, VnExpress reported.
However, many tourists complained that they had to pay more than listed prices, or were given rooms of lower quality than what had been advertised, it said.
Some also said their bookings were canceled, even though they had already paid deposits, which forced them to look for rooms at motels.
A popular destination in Vietnam, Da Nang attracted nearly 460,000 tourists during the holiday, according to the tourism department.
More than 86,000 tourists stayed overnight in the city, up more than 23 percent year on year.
Previously, authorities in the northern highlands resort town of Sa Pa also fined eight local hotels a total of VND125 million ($5,800) for overcharging.
The hotels, mostly ranked 2-3 stars, were found listing rates at between VND17.3-46 million ($800-2,130) per night on booking websites like Agoda.

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