Acknowledging a rise in aggressive vendors and bag snatchers, Ho Chi Minh City administrators have asked the municipal police to create a plan to set up a designated tourist protection unit.
Given that the city welcomes nearly 60 percent of Vietnam's international arrivals, it needs a specialized police force to look after the security needs of its tourists, said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
"In previous years, the tourism industry proposed the creation of a tourist police unit but the idea has yet to be implemented," said Khanh. "Although the city's the voluntary youth force [with nearly 200 members] already works to protect tourists, a professional tourism unit is essential to better catering to our visitors."
Khanh said the city needs time to implement its plan --which must be approved by relevant ministries and agencies.
According to the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, insecurity is one of the shortcomings in the city's tourism sector.
A rise in aggressive street vendors and tourist robberies in the first half of this year has badly affected the city's image, the department said.
Ho Chi Minh City received an estimated 1.65 million international arrivals in the first six months of this year, a 10-percent year-on-year increase, according to the department.
The city hopes to welcome 3.5 million international arrivals during the entire year.