Published on : Friday, August 1, 2014
The province expects to see more than VND6 trillion (US$283 million) in revenue generated from tourism fees this year. More than 7.5 million tourists visited Quang Ninh in 2013–a number that’s only expected to rise in the coming years.
Despite the huge number of tourists who visit Ha Long Bay, few stay longer than a single day due to poor services and unfriendly staff.
Nguyen Van Thuyet, a Quang Ninh official, admitted that Ha Long tourism hasn’t been developed well. “I have traveled to many countries and found out that nowhere place has as bad a service as Ha Long Bay. Tourism products have to be diversified. Moreover, the attitude of the people supplying services should be improved and absolutely averse to
the notion of extorting their customers,” he said.
According to Huy Ty, a local journalist, bad service and unfriendly staff are the main reason many tourists don’t spend more than a day in Ha Long. He said a private firm operating tourism services in the bay could increase fees and tourists would be happy to pay more for better service.
But now some hope that Ha Long Bay’s slow fall into a grimy and distasteful tourist trap may end as two of Vietnam’s largest private companies bid for “the rights to exploit, collect tourism fees and supply tourism services”. It’s still uncertain what this will mean for
the chaos of small-time operators who currently crowd the bay and the government will, of course, maintain administrative rights over the body of water. Still, many are encouraged that the Quang Ninh People’s Committee, the provincial administration, has invited outsiders to propose plans for future development.
According to Nguyen Van Doc, Quang Ninh’s mayor two major private business groups, Bitexco and Tuan Chau, started requesting early this month for concession rights in Ha Long and nearby Bai Tu Long Bay.