We need to stop accepting that hassling and overcharging are normal

By Winter   March 29, 2022 | 05:10 pm PT
We need to stop accepting that hassling and overcharging are normal
Thousands of people go to the beach in Nha Trang for the Reunification Day-Labor Day holiday in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc
People who travel a lot know what is wrong with Vietnam's tourist destinations as well as the fact that authorities have not managed to fix them yet.

If all the hassling and overcharging does not stop, even locals will lose interest in traveling let alone foreign tourists.

If tourist hassling is a global issue, then what Vietnam needs to do is to put its foot down and squash it completely.

That deplorable act is nothing more than greed, which seeks to satisfy a short-term desire without thinking of the future.

Vietnam does not need more fancy buildings to attract tourists; it just needs to deal with its existing problems properly.

And if someone tries to say that hassling happens everywhere and that it is normal, tourists will simply stop coming to Vietnam and travel elsewhere instead.

Hassling is far from the only problem with Vietnam's tourism; what about the destruction of nature and the environment? What about the senseless construction of soulless buildings to pocket more money from people?

Look at what Japan, South Korea and Thailand have been doing. Their tourism succeeds because they are willing to face their problems head on for the better. And what is Vietnam doing? Constantly making excuses for its mistakes instead of rolling up its sleeves to fix things. Instead of acknowledging that tourist overcharging is ubiquitous and alarming, we settle for the excuse that "it happens everywhere". We settle for mediocrity.

Why can't we reframe it as a unique opportunity to set ourselves apart? If Vietnam manages to become a tourist-friendly destination that outmatches everyone, people will come to us on their own accord. If not now, then when?

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