Don’t increase admission prices now, Ha Long Bay management told

By Kieu Duong, Sen   October 25, 2019 | 11:07 pm PT
Don’t increase admission prices now, Ha Long Bay management told
Cruise ships in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province. Photo by Shutterstock/namanh.
Quang Ninh has ordered the Ha Long Bay management to suspend a planned increase in admission and tour prices for the UNESCO-recognized site.

The People’s Committee of Quang Ninh Province said on Friday the indefinite suspension will ensure tourist flow to Ha Long Bay at the moment, especially during the winter season.

Earlier, on Tuesday, the Ha Long Bay Management Board released its proposal to raise prices by 20-73 percent depending on the services, starting January 2020.

Under the proposal, visitors would pay an additional VND50,000-400,000 ($2-17) each for daytime activities including admissions and overnight services at Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site that is one of the most popular tourism spots in the country.

Currently, daytime admission to the site costs VND200,000-250,000 ($9-11). These prices would go up by VND50,000 or 20-25 percent.

Tours involving overnight stays currently cost VND550,000-750,000 ($24-32) per night, and these would increase by VND300,000-400,000 ($13-17) or about 50 percent under the proposal.

The management board cited the reasons behind its proposal as "diversifying tourism products and types" and "sustainably protecting the ecological environment and ensuring the development of a friendly and civilized tourism environment."

This is the second time this year that the management board has suggested changes in the pricing structure for Ha Long Bay. The first time was in January.

Earlier, in 2017, the board had suggested that package tickets to all the attractions in Ha Long Bay are sold, instead of individual ones. That proposal was accepted.

Nguyen Hoang, director of Handspan Travel, an agency that brings about 600-1,000 foreign visitors a month to Ha Long Bay, said the proposal had the admission fee raised while tourists still have to pay for other activities inside the site.

"Many of our contracts with international travel agencies were signed for 2020, so the proposal meant our firm would incur a loss of billions of Vietnamese dong (VND1 billion =  $43,000)," he said.

Le Van Len, director of LvTravel which brings a monthly average of 7,000 visitors to the bay, said the proposal would have a negative impact on tourism in Ha Long and Vietnam in general.

"The cost of visiting Ha Long Bay for a day is already equivalent to a four-day tour in Thailand at about $100."

Ha Long Bay is a famous name on the global tourism map, with its popularity confirmed by routine listings in prestigious magazines.

Around 5.2 million foreigners visited the bay last year, up 22 percent from a year ago, accounting for 30 percent of the 15.6 million foreign tourists visiting the country.

CNN says visiting Halong Bay, exploring the world’s largest cave Son Doong and eating pho noodle soup in Hanoi are among the 13 most memorable experiences in Vietnam.

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