Unlicensed tour guides are continuing to operate in some of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations such as Khanh Hoa, Da Nang and Quang Ninh, Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said at an ongoing meeting of the National Assembly.
Vietnam does not have enough qualified guides to cater for the rising numbers of tourists arriving from China and Russia, so many are working without licenses, Thien told the top legislative body.
In the past, unlicensed guides from Vietnam and overseas have been accused of providing false information about the sites they are showing tourists. To deal with the problem, Thien said licenses should be mandatory, and any company that hires guides without licenses should be fined.
There are currently over 18,000 tour guides working in Vietnam, but not enough of them have the linguistic skills to cater for visitors from China and South Korea.
According to statistics from Vietnam’s National Administration of Tourism, the country has over 2,200 Chinese-speaking and 125 Korean-speaking guides, while it welcomed nearly 2.7 million and 1.5 million visitors from China and South Korea, respectively, last year.
Many localities across Vietnam have already taken action against unlicensed guides. In March, the northern province of Quang Ninh fined nine guides a combined VND 70 million ($3,097), while the central city of Da Nang punished at least 12 foreigners for working as unregistered guides last year.