After reports of foreign tourists being overcharged by taxi drivers and hotel employees, the city plans to work harder to prevent scams, said Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Mai Tien Dung.
The capital city welcomed 5.12 million visitors in the first quarter of this year, a year-on-year increase of 17 per cent, including 615,000 foreign tourists. Nevertheless, overcharging remains a major challenge for the country’s tourism sector.
Last month, a taxi driver from the Trung Viet company charged an Australian couple nearly VND1 million (US$47) for a 7km ride in Ha Noi. Though he was fined VND20 million ($952) by the company and had his labour contract terminated, and the taxi firm representatives apologised and gave the Australian couple a full refund – it is said such events are all too common in the capital city.
Dung said the Culture, Sports and Tourism department had asked local authorities and police to tighten controls over the prices and operations of transport firms, hotels and restaurants.
While recent cases like that of the Australian couple were handled promptly by authorised agencies, they still affected the city’s image, Dung said. He proposed stricter punishments for those involved in scamming foreign tourists and encouraged locals to report such cases to authorised agencies.
Managing Director of International Tourism and Trade Joint Stock Company (Vinatour) Trung Viet Dung said travel agents were now providing more information about tourism services and prices and sought to improve both the quality of services and the professional skills of guides and managers.
The Ha Noi taxi association has set up two hotlines for passengers to provide feedback about taxi drivers: (04)37710851 and (04)38525252.