Cruise tours in Vietnam heritage bay canceled as Storm Talim approaches

By Tu Nguyen   July 17, 2023 | 01:23 am PT
Cruise tours in Vietnam heritage bay canceled as Storm Talim approaches
Cruise ships dock at Gia Luan Wharf in Hai Phong City, July 17, 2023. Photo by Pham Ha
Many luxury cruise tours to Ha Long Bay and neighboring tourist destinations have been canceled due to a ban on boats and ships going out to sea as Storm Talim nears.

Talim, the first storm to form over Vietnam's East Sea this year, is forecast to make landfall in the northern Quang Ninh Province, home to UNESCO heritage site Ha Long Bay, and Hai Phong City, famous for its Cat Ba Island, on Tuesday.

From Monday afternoon, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong banned all boats and ships going to sea and suspended tourism activities to ensure the safety of tourists, leaving cruise tour operators in a desperate situation.

Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group which specializes in luxury cruises, said his cruise ship Heritage returned to dock at Gia Luan Wharf in Hai Phong on Sunday afternoon and overnight cruise tours on Lan Ha Bay for Monday and Tuesday were already canceled.

Ha said his cruise was fully booked for 20 rooms, with prices of VND11 million ($464.78) per night but 50% of guests were foreigners with short travel time, so they decided to cancel their itinerary.

The cancelation is causing his business to lose more than VND100 million per night.

Ha Long Bay, about 200 kilometers northeast of Hanoi, is one of Vietnam's top tourist attractions, drawing tens of thousands of domestic and overseas visitors each year, many of whom take overnight boat tours.

Other cruise ships in Lan Ha Bay with over 800 rooms were already canceled, but all businesses must comply with the ban to ensure safety.

Like cruise ships, hotels on Cat Ba Island, home to Lan Ha Bay, also faced a similar fate.

A representative of a five-star hotel said that many of its guests requested to cancel their rooms due to the storm.

There were also a rash of hotel room cancelations in Ha Long.

Quang Ninh also closed its public beaches from Monday afternoon. On Monday, there were still about 2,500 guests staying on Co To island.

After local authorities informed tourists about the storm, 42 ships departed, carrying more than 8,000 visitors to the mainland.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, operations at four airports - Van Don in Quang Ninh, Cat Bi in Hai Phong City, Noi Bai in Hanoi, and Tho Xuan in Thanh Hoa - will be affected by the storm.

Many international flights to and from Vietnam on Monday were also delayed due to the impact of the storm.

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