Vietnam travel company accused of abandoning foreign tourists

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 A Chinese tourist (R) buys food in Ha Long Town in the northern province of Quang Ninh / PHOTO COURTESY OF TBKTSG

Nearly 100 Chinese tourists have accused a Vietnamese travel company of leaving them out to dry in Ha Long Bay. 

The tourists filed complaints with the Chinese embassy in Hanoi on Monday, claiming that the tour guide and representative of Khang Thai Travel Company had left them stranded at the Bai Chay Port in Quang Ninh province early that day.

Quang Ninh’s tourism authorities then stepped in and ordered the company to send a tour guide to take care of the tourists that same day.

Ha Quang long, director of the Quang Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that after visiting the bay, the tourists left Vietnam.

He also said that his department would work with Khang Thai’s representative this week to straighten out the situation.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Nguyen Huu Viet, deputy chief of the tourism administration division at the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which manages the travel company, denied the Chinese tourists’ accusations.

He said in accordance with their itinerary, that day the tourists were given free time to do sightseeing as they wished.

In the meantime, Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon (Saigon Times) Online quoted Nguyen Quy Phuong, chief of the Travel Department at the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, as saying that the tourists who hailed from Hong Kong, bought a tour to visit China, Ha Long Bay, and Hanoi from a Chinese company.

In Vietnam, Khang Thai was in charge of completing immigration procedures for the tourists, while another company provided tourism services.

On Monday which was the last day of the tour in Vietnam, the Vietnamese companies left the tourists at Ha Long Bay because their Chinese partner failed to pay them, Phuong said.

According to the official, it was not the first such case of payment problems between Chinese and Vietnamese travel companies. 

China is the largest market for Quang Ninh tourism, Doan Manh Linh with the Quang Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism told the newspaper, adding that the number of Chinese tourists usually surges during Tet (Vietnam’s Lunar New Year) holiday.

The province welcomed some 250,000 foreign tourists this Tet (from January 30 to February 5), up 12 percent year on year, Linh said.

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