Vietnamese province cleans up image after children beggars spook tourists

By Minh Nga   May 12, 2017 | 03:18 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese province cleans up image after children beggars spook tourists
Ha Giang Province's Dong Van Karst Global Geopark. Photo by VnExpress

Ha Giang, an emerging destination in northern Vietnam, has become more famous for the wrong reason recently.

Ha Giang Province is taking action to make sure tourists are not put off by recent reports of child begging and reckless drivers.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said in a report on Friday that local authorities are taking these reports seriously, promising to protect visitors to the mountainous province by ending infamous practices that could put tourists in danger.

Last week, VnExpress reported that a group of small children in Ha Giang Province often stop vehicles on a winding mountain pass to ask for gifts and candies. This form of begging puts both the children and drivers on Ma Li Peng Pass at great risk.

A video shared by a driver shows the kids jumping out to the middle of the road and surprising motorbike travelers.

The new report from the tourism administration also mentioned other issues, including xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers fighting over passengers and local teenage drivers who flout traffic laws.

"These issues have left bad impacts on the image of Ha Giang's tourism and upset tourists," the report said.

Ha Giang has emerged as new travel destinations a couple years ago.

It is most famous for the Dong Van Karst Global Geopark, stretching 235,000 hectares (581,000 acres) over four districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac, and recognized by the UNESCO as one of the 77 geological parks in the world.

Vast fields of buckwheat flowers, stunning terraced rice fields and the diverse culture of various ethnic communities are also major draws.

Ha Giang received more than 850,000 visitors last year, an increase of 11.9 percent over 2015, with 176,000 foreign tourists, official data shows.