Several tourism enterprises have said they are surprised by a ban on kayak service issued by Halong City with effect from April 1 and some of them have yet to inform customers of this sudden change although the tours with kayak service have already been sold.
Tourist are seen kayaking in Halong Bay
According to a document signed by vice chairman of the city Tran Viet Hung on March 29 to ban kayak service in Halong Bay, all organizations and individuals providing tourism services are required to stop kayak service from April 1.
The city government said the number of kayaks in the bay is increasing rapidly while organizations and individuals providing this service have not been granted certificates of approval.
Some tour operators have not informed authorities of kayak service fees, so tourists may be overcharged, denting the image of the tourism sector.
Speaking to the Daily, many businesses showed their surprise with this decision, saying they are feeling their hands are abruptly tied.
Tran Xuan Hung, director of Viking Tourism Company, said most of the company’s foreign visitors to Halong Bay tried kayak service and there had been no cases of injury or accident.
Some cruises offer free kayak service for overnight tours and some charge US$5-15 per person.
In the bay, kayaking is not as risky as other destinations.
“Kayaking is an added service, contributing to the richness of tourism products that are relatively poor in Halong Bay. Authorities should withdraw this unreasonable decision, so I have not informed my partners of this change,” Hung said.
Meanwhile, Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions Tourism Company, expressed concern that his company had signed tour contracts with partners, including kayak service.
In particular, the company has received payments for some contracts so they do not know what to do when the service is suddenly banned.
“It’s hard for us to inform our customers as the tours have already been sold,” he added.
Anh said tourists are fond of kayaking in Halong Bay.
“Service prices are reasonable and no accident has occurred. Therefore, city authorities should only deal with violations, instead of issuing a blanket ban,” said Xuan Anh.
Many other businesses also have similar views, saying Halong Bay is a leading tourist attraction in Vietnam, but some recent unreasonable decisions have caused inconvenience for visitors and tourism enterprises.