Vietnam's Ha Long Bay to be patrolled by new tourism police force

By Minh Cuong   February 11, 2017 | 09:00 am PT
Vietnam's Ha Long Bay to be patrolled by new tourism police force
Part of Ha Long Bay. Photo by Dang Thanh Phuong/VnExpress Photo Contest
The move aims to protect tourists from criminals and unscrupulous travel agencies and street vendors.

The northern province of Quang Ninh, home to the world-renowned Ha Long Bay, has been given permission to establish a special tourism police force.

In a statement released on Friday, the Government Office said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had endorsed the proposal to form the new force. He asked the province, the Ministry of Public Security and other government agencies to cooperate on the pilot scheme.

The move aims to protect tourists and cut crime in the area, said Vu Thi Thu Thuy, vice chairman of the province.

Quang Ninh welcomed around 8.3 million visitors in 2016, up 7 percent from the previous year. Of the total, 3.5 million were foreign guests, according to the province’s television station.

Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is famous for its emerald green waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests.

However, street vendors and criminals who cause trouble for tourists are an issue that local authorities have to deal with. In addition, a number of travel agencies have been caught committing business violations, besmirching the province's reputation.

In August last year, Da Nang, another popular destination for tourists in central Vietnam, said the government had allowed it to form a tourism police force.

On the other hand, Ho Chi Minh City has not asked the central government for permission to establish a new force.

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