Illegal low-cost tours mushroom, posing danger for some participants

The death of a man who was working as a tour guide on an unlicensed tour in Khanh Hoa province shows the negative consequences of ‘underground tours’.

The Cam Binh commune People’s Committee in Cam Ranh City has confirmed the death of a tour guide who led a group of travelers to tour the island on a jeep. The man fell out of the car and died on the spot.

Illegal low-cost tours mushroom, posing danger for some participants

The case has raised concerns for local travel firms as they fear the accident would affect Cam Ranh’s image as a tourism city. The firms said the city’s tourism is being harmed by the explosion of low-cost, low-quality tours.

Reporters on May 9 contacted a man named H when dialing 090200xxxx, the phone number given on internet. H admitted he was not a professional tour guide, but had been living in Nha Trang for many years and his knowledge about the city was ‘more than enough’ to lead travelers.

“The fee for a canoe to carry travelers to three islands of Nha Trang Bay is VND370,000 per traveler,” H said. When asked about insurance policy and invoices, H said he could buy invoices for accommodation, meals and transport at a cost equal to 12 percent of tour fee.

The unlicensed tours have become the choice of many groups of travelers, because they don’t have to pay much for tours. But in exchange for this, they have to accept high risks, when problems arise and tour guides escape.

When contacting T, another ‘tour guide’, at 09840xxxx, the man quoted the fee of VND650,000 per traveler to Ghenh Nhay Waterfall in Ninh Van Commune.

T said that there would not be an insurance policy and invoices for the tours.

Unlicensed tour guides also exist in HCMC. Travel firms said some freelance tour guides take orders from travelers, or cooperate with tour guides with work permits to provide tours.

 

The director of a travel firm in Nha Trang City said the low-cost tours of this kind have mushroomed recently as they are supported by social networks.

“The tours are operated by self-proclaimed tour guides, so the tour fee is very low, thus attracting travelers,” he explained.

The unlicensed tours have become the choice of many groups of travelers, because they don’t have to pay much for tours. But in exchange for this, they have to accept high risks, when problems arise and tour guides escape.

A local resident in Nha Trang City commented that the demand for adventure tours is increasingly high, while licensed tourism companies dare not risk taking travelers to places with insufficient or uncomfortable services. Self-proclaimed tour guides lead travelers to anywhere they want.

The Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Tourism Association warned that ‘underground tours’ will harm the authentic tourism industry. However, Khanh Hoa Tourism Department deputy director Nguyen Thi Le Thanh said information about the tours is posted on social networks, so it is difficult to punish the violators.

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