Nearly 300 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Vietnam as tour company defaults on payment

By Tu Nguyen    February 13, 2024 | 09:05 pm PT
Nearly 300 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Vietnam as tour company defaults on payment
Tourists on a beach in Phu Quoc Island, April 30, 2023. Photo by Truong Phu Quoc
The failure by a Taiwanese tour company to pay its Vietnamese partner has left 292 of the former’s clients stranded on Phu Quoc Island.

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.

Hoang Tuan Minh, director of local travel agency Winner Vietnam, which was to provide them with services, told VnExpress that the Taiwanese partner had agreed to make full payment by Jan 31.

But it failed and so he had canceled the contract, he said.

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 agreed for "humanitarian" reasons and 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 it again failed to pay, and Minh informed the company that he would no longer serve the tourists.

He had spent billions of dong (VND1 billion = US$40,700) already.

The Taiwanese company then told the tourists to pay him $720 each, promising to refund the money later, but only around 90 of them agreed.

Many complained on social media, prompting authorities to step in.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, which manages Taiwanese affairs abroad, got in touch with both sides, telling the Taiwanese company to make full payment by Feb. 26 and Minh to continue hosting the tourists.

The former company has not paid for the visitors’ return flight tickets either, and it remains to be seen if they can board an airplane on Feb 14 as scheduled.

Bui Quoc Thai, director of the Department of Tourism of Kien Giang Province, where Phu Quoc is situated, said an inspection team has been formed to look into the dispute.

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