Oct 24, 2012

Vietnam - Government says VN welcomes tourists, but terrible vice keeps travelers away

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VietNamNet Bridge – Foreign travelers have been heading for Vietnam, the oriental “millennium destination” with “hidden charm” to discover. However, many of them have shrunk back because of the stories about the problems travelers may meet in the country.

Vietnam has been determined to attract more foreign travelers to Vietnam, trying to show to them the images of a peaceful, beautiful Vietnam and Vietnamese hospitality.

Competent agencies have filed the documents to international organizations for the recognition of its relics and landscapes as the world’s natural wonders and cultural heritages. Ancient relics have been rebuilt or upgraded; imposing inauguration ceremonies have been organized.

The pieces of news about the events have continually appeared on local newspapers, showing the evidence about a renovating Vietnam.

However, while the government and competent agencies try to show the brilliant images of Vietnam, a lot of Vietnamese people show the dark part of the travel market.

Foreign travelers got their bags snatched. Foreign travelers were overcharged when taking taxis, got sexually abused, had money robbed. Especially, a foreign traveler had all of his money stolen, and he had to sell pictures to earn some money.

Lately, on October 17, 2012, Charlotte, a French woman, when walking on Tran Phu Street in the sea city of Nha Trang, had her camera snatched. At that time, Ruben Engelhardt, a member of the travelers’ team, tried to prevent the snatching, but he was attacked by the other gangs.

Finally, Charlotte had to give all the money she had in her pocket to the gang team to beg them to stop fighting the friend. After that the man was taken to a hospital for the injury treatment.

The noteworthy thing is that the Tho Loc ward’s police station said it did not receive any report about the attack from the foreign travelers.

It was true that the foreign travelers did not report the attack to the local authorities. Under the current regulations, travelers, even though suffering injuries, would have to come to police stations to report about the cases first before they can go to hospitals for treatments.

Here, at the police stations, they would provide all the details relating to the cases. This is really a difficult task for them, because there may be no one who can understand him if he speaks foreign languages.

After that, they would have to report the cases in written documents and show evidence and witnesses. Only when the criminals are arrested and exhibits are presented, would the competent agencies be able to begin considering the cases and making decisions.

As such, travelers have to undergo so many procedures to protect their benefits. This explains why they would rather not to ask for the intervention of the police.

Quang Ninh province has become “famous” in recent years, not only because it has the natural wonder Ha Long Bay, but also because of the troubles occurring in the locality.

Five travelers were lost in a case of a tourist boat sinking in early October, after 12 travelers died in a similar case in February 2011. Meanwhile, the local authorities have “thrown more oil into the fire” when announcing the two-fold increase in the transport service fees.

Vietnamese people have a saying: “the fly that spoils the broth.”, i.e. just some problems occurring in some places may spoil the images of Vietnam’s tourism. Therefore, Vietnamese people have called for eliminate the “flies” to keep the Vietnam’s tourism environment clean.

In the latest news, the foreign travelers to Vietnam in June, July and August dropped by 15 percent in comparison with the same period of the last year.

Nguyen Duy Nghia

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