Nearly 300 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Phu Quoc fly home

By Phuong Anh   February 14, 2024 | 03:04 am PT
Nearly 300 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Phu Quoc fly home
Aircraft park at Phu Quoc Airport, Kien Giang Province, July 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Dong
292 Taiwanese tourists who were stuck on Vietnam’s largest island Phu Quoc after their tour company defaulted on a payment flew home on Wednesday afternoon.

They arrived at Phu Quoc International Airport to board their charter flight back to Taiwan at 12:30 p.m., said Ha Tuan Minh, director of local travel agency Winner Vietnam, which was to provide them with services.

On her personal page, Huang Chengxi, one of the Taiwanese tourists "abandoned" in Phu Quoc, thanked Minh’s company for her support.

"We are now safe and continue our journey," she wrote.

The visitors had booked a four-day tour to the island through We Love Tour company in Taipei and flew in by charter flight on Feb. 10, Lunar New Year’s Day.

Initially, the Taiwanese partner had agreed to make full payment by Jan. 31 but failed to pay and Minh’s company canceled the contract.

But the Taiwanese company went ahead and sent the group to Phu Quoc, where there were no vehicles and hotels or waiting for them. It contacted Minh and pleaded with him to take care of the visitors.

He then sent 18 buses and Chinese-speaking guides to Phu Quoc airport and lodged the visitors at two five-star hotels.

The Taiwanese company had promised to pay on Feb. 11, but again failed to pay.

Bui Quoc Thai, head of the Kien Giang Tourism Department, announced on Wednesday that his department, in collaboration with officials in Phu Quoc city, reviewed the contract between We Love Tour company from Taiwan and Vietnam's Winner company to provide clear information to the tourists.

He criticized the Taiwanese travel agency's irresponsible act of leaving almost 300 tourists stranded and stated that any violations by Vietnamese companies would be penalized.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in HCMC got in touch with both sides, telling the Taiwanese company to make full payment by Feb. 26 while Minh’s company continues hosting the tourists.

According to a source from Bamboo Airways, even though it had not received payment from the Taiwanese tour company, the airline still carried the tourists to return home on schedule.

The incident took place on the first days of the Lunar New Year and attracted the attention of international media.

On social media forum, many Taiwanese people criticized the We Love Tour for abandoning customers and fraud, calling on their authorities to strictly handle the company.

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