2012 has passed. Despite common challenges of domestic and international economy, Tourism industry of Halong Bay province has marked significant turning points…
Total turn of tourists to Halong Bay Cruises reached 7 million, an increase of 8% compared to the same period, of those international tourists reached 2,4 million turns, an increase of 5% compared to the same period and resident tourists reached 2.8 million turns, an increase of 9%v compared to the same period. Average time of residence was 1.5 day/turn. Total revenue from tourism counted VND 4,100 billion, and increase of 16% compared to the same period. Such figure was very important, proving efforts and attempts of the tourism industry in maintaining its growth rate a year. However, shadow that has been for long still remains despite bright side of tourism industry in Halong Bay in 2012.
International tourism at a tourist site in Halong Bay.
First and foremost, it is necessary to mention tourism product. In spite of recent attempts made by tourism industry in building tourism products at major tourist points, such products have not presented much improvement. Some new tourist lines and points were investigated and established but soon they become neglected. Reasons for such situation may be uncompleted infrastructure, difficult traffic, etc. A quite significant reason is no sponsorship from investors. Moreover, travel companies fear to connect tours to attract tourists. As a result, tourism products of Halong city have become very poor and monotone for years. Tourism industry still mainly depends on available resources. Products and services at tourist sites are poor, creating no identity. Tourism products are overlapping and not typical for Halong Bay. Beside tourism center in Halong Bay City, most of other centers in the province are in lack of support services such as leisure services, cultural services, shopping centers… Apart from building tourism products, no appropriate and effective solutions for the management on travel activities has been found in order to adjust and limit any bad practices. Despite some improvement in human resource for tourism, it has not satisfied development demand. Training system is fragmental, small, unprofessional. Awareness of study and promotion of qualification in quite large part of officers and employees in the industry is very low. Strangely enough, although promotion activities have shown good improvement, they have not paid enough attention on major markets. It may result from limitation in budget for such activities. Another unavoidable limit is the improvement of tourism environment and the increase of tourism service quality. This is a decisive issue in building the image for trademark of Halong Bay. It necessary to confirm that with the participation of all levels, agencies and industries, Halong Bay has boosted management, quality of environment, travel services, particularly the adjustment and restrictions to vendors who used to beg and follow tourist for selling products. Tourism environment has been considerably improved. However, the fact that unreasonable price in rush times and unfair competition have not been resolved completely. Decoy-ducks and cheats to tourists, particularly international tourists by sea are still present. This embarrasses service providers. Some units receiving tourists by sea stated that such decoy-ducks were professional. They group from two to three persons in different locations. Upon arrival of tourists from ships, they approach and offer travel prices to such tourists with extremely low prices. If the first person fails to persuade tourists, the second person will approach and offer lower prices. They repeat this circle from time to time until agreement of tourists are reached. After the deal, they will lead tourists to sightseeing points without ideas about boarding time of tourists. In the latest situation, 4 international tourists came back very late after the departure of their ship due to such decoy-ducks. Representative of Saigontourist Quang Ninh, the company perceiving tourists, revealed that sometimes, their operators and security guards could not do anything in such situations. “if we prohibit in deck, they will wait for tourists on the beach. When we prohibit in the lounge, they will wait for tourists in pavements where tourist will get on their bus”. Those difficulties not only confuse tourists, but also greatly affect the image of Halong Bay tourism.
2013 has come. Beside advantages and opportunities, the above mentioned difficulties will challenge operation of tourism industry in the current year.
Source: Quang Ninh News.