Tourists, business people express indignation at Hoi An entry fee proposal

By Dac Thanh, Hoang Phong   April 5, 2023 | 08:00 pm PT
Tourists, business people express indignation at Hoi An entry fee proposal
Foreign tourists walk in Hoi An ancient town, March 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Hoi An authorities' decision to collect entry fees from visitors from mid-May has sparked an outcry from foreign tourists and local business owners.

On Monday they announced fees of VND120,000 (US$5.11) for foreigners and VND80,000 ($3.41) for Vietnamese, with the money to be used to improve infrastructure, restore downgraded relics and organize tourism events.

"The suggested fees are outrageous and will hurt locals more than anything else," Ona-Lise Ronnebeck, a South African tourist, told VnExpress International.

"VND20,000 for Vietnamese and VND40,000 for foreigners sounds more reasonable for conservation purposes."

Charging VND120,000 for foreigners would just mean most tourists would pay reluctantly and spend less at local shops while expats would avoid visiting the town, she added.

Ryan John, an Australian tourist, said: "If I had a shop there, I would be outraged. No tourist will pay this to go in to get a coffee every day. VND20,000-40,000 might have been reasonable."

Many business owners in Hoi An also criticized the proposal, saying it would have a negative impact on local tourism.

Thanh Yen, a restaurant owner in Hoi An, said: "If the plan is implemented, it will prevent tourists from returning to visit the ancient town, affecting all businesses. We need tourism policies to attract tourists."

Now, entry tickets are only required at some historical relics and tourist sites.

Phung Quang Thang, vice chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association, said many tourists think it is unreasonable to charge tourists entry fees, but the ancient town is a world heritage site and it is necessary to collect entry fees for its conservation.

"The thing is that local authorities need to show people the benefit of collecting a fee."

Truong Thi Ngoc Cam, director of the town Center for Culture, Sports, Broadcasting and Television, said local authorities are still gathering opinions from locals and visitors.

The large number of visitors in recent years has put great pressure on the town's environment and that is why authorities decided to collect entry fees to fund conservation and improve infrastructure, she added.

Many tourist destinations around the world plan to collect similar fees in 2023 to improve the quality of tourism services.

All foreign tourists entering Thailand will have to pay a fee of 300 baht ($12) from June while Venice in Italy plans to charge tourists €3-10 ($3.23-10.77) from this summer.

By November the EU will begin collecting a fee.

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