Da Nang tour buses to have CCTV cameras

By Nguyen Dong, Thanh Tuyet, Vy An   August 21, 2018 | 06:38 pm PT
Da Nang tour buses to have CCTV cameras
Tourists walk on the famous Golden Bridge of Da Nang. Photo by Reuters
Da Nang will install surveillance cameras in 110 tour buses to add security and monitor unlicensed tour guides.

An agreement on the installation of cameras was signed by the central city's Department of Transport with transportation companies and tour operators on Monday.

This will help build a “stable touristic environment,” said Dang Viet Dung, Vice Chairman of Da Nang.

According to companies that will run the CCTV-installed buses, such cameras will give a clear picture of professionalism or lack thereof displayed by drivers and their assistants.

They also add security to passengers’ belongings as camera footage can be used to investigate any loss, if needed.

Da Nang has granted tourism transportation licenses to over 2,200 vehicles. However, out of 257 30-seater buses, only 27 have surveillance cameras at present, according to Nguyen Xuan Binh, deputy director of the Da Nang Tourism Department.

Privacy concerns

On the other hand, many tourism agencies are concerned that installation and operation of such cameras would violate passengers’ privacy, boost costs and not suit vehicles that are constantly in use.

Since there is no regulation specifically dealing with the installation of such devices, it has to be a voluntary decision.

Che Viet Dong, a tour guide, supported the installation of CCTV cameras. At a meeting of tourism companies on August 11, he noted that the cameras would prevent foreign tour guides from working illegally.

Many Vietnamese tour guides disregard their own contracts and deliberately let foreign guides lead tours instead, he said. It is illegal for foreign tour guides to work in Vietnam.

Unlicensed tour guides is a persistent problem at many travel destinations like the northern province of Quang Ninh, home to Ha Long Bay, and Khanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam, home to popular beach town Nha Trang.

Some foreign tour guides even impart false information. One Chinese private guide was found claiming that the ao dai, Vietnam’s traditional dress, was actually a qipao, a Chinese traditional garment. Vietnam was part of China, the guide told Chinese visitors at the Da Nang Museum early this year.

A similar incident also occurred in 2016 where another Chinese tour guide told visitors that China owned Vietnam 14 centuries ago and that Vietnam still had to pay tribute to it, as an independent state.

Da Nang has been attracting increasing numbers of visitors every year. According to local tourism agencies, in the first half of 2018, the city saw an impressive influx of over four million visitors, 30 percent up from a year ago. Of these, 1.6 million were foreigners.

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