Hoi An needs to treat tourists better

By Le Ngoc Quy   April 13, 2023 | 06:26 pm PT
Hoi An needs to treat tourists better
Crowds of tourists walk in Hoi An's Old Town in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
If Hoi An has the right to charge visitors, then tourists have the right to get an excellent value for the price they pay.

People have been talking about how Hoi An's Old Town plans to charge visitors entrance fees.

In my opinion, there is really nothing to debate.

Hoi An has always charged people money for their time there: the town has always sold goods and services to people. It’s just that now they just want to do it in a more concrete, comprehensive way.

There are people who say that they would boycott Hoi An if charged entrance fees. They say the town will no longer attract visitors, that tourism will die.

These are just comments made in the heat of the moment.

Previously, tour companies and organizations have always sold tours through Hoi An, meaning there have always been some kind of ticket fees for tourists in Hoi An. So the decision to charge entrance fees would not really impact the majority of tourists who come to Hoi An.

However, I do have just a few suggestions for Hoi An in order to better serve tourists there.

First, if one has to buy a ticket to enter the Old Town, there should be no additional fees for public toilets. People should not have to pay to relieve themselves. That does not make sense. The more public toilets there are in Hoi An, the more we can hire people to clean and maintain them. This would create jobs for bathroom cleaners, more money pumped back into the local economy from those salaries, and also larger public profits derived from ticket sales.

Second, as tourists have to pay to enter the Old Town and sightsee locations and sites, those sites should be open for as long as it takes for the tourists to see. As long as it is within ticket-selling hours, sites should remain open. If those who run those sites want to take breaks, the management board of the Hoi An heritage site must hire more people to work in shifts until closing time.

Third, if people have to pay for tickets, please think up more activities to entertain them. Don’t just have them walk the same old paths and call it conservation.

Fourth, everything needs to be kept beautiful. If people already pay for services, the streets should better be clean, the Hoai River better be dredged frequently, and trash bins should be cleaned out every 30 minutes.

And the prices of goods should also be regulated and kept appropriate for the quality of the products and services. Market inspectors must visit shopping areas once or twice every day, so tourists can shop without fear of being ripped off.

Fifth, if tickets are sold, electric vehicles that transport tourists should be free. Currently, a trip from the parking lot to the Old Town costs VND20,000. This annoys everyone.

Lastly, if we are selling tickets to enter the Old Town, the tickets should also be sold at the parking lots at the entrances to town. Why? That way anyone who wants to enter, not just local pedestrians, would have no choice but to buy a ticket. People would not be able to skip buying tickets.

In conclusion: Hoi An is beautiful. But its true beauty lies in its people, in their kindness, their hospitality and friendliness. If Hoi An authorities want to charge us in the name of tourism, then us tourists should also deserve to be treated with respect to the money we pay. Both sides can be happy this way.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
go to top