Local Authorities Clean Business Practices of Halong Bay Boats

Halong Bay is an iconic destination of Vietnam and of course a major magnet for tourists of all around the world. But not only tourists are attracted. The UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts also ill-disposed people who will con tourists.

Two weeks ago, Vietnamese authorities suspended a boat in Ha Long Bay for overcharging a group of tourists after serving them seafood. Authorities took seriously the complaint of a tourist who wrote on her facebook account a comment about a boat owner who asked for US$450 for a seafood meal for six people. The boat has been indefinitely suspended to run business and authorities promise to further crack down on local business abusing travellers.

Meanwhile, local authorities of  Quang Ninh Province -where Halong Bay is located- will ban overnight stays for passengers ships at Halong and Bai Tu Long bays in a very near future. Authorities justify the ban with a need to enhance the quality of service for tourists and their safety. The move is also part of a program to replace wooden boats by more solid metal boats. In the near future, only daytime travel will be allowed in the sea.

According to local newspapers, some 553 tourist ships operate across the two bays, 202 of which dock overnight.

In 2015, Ha Long and Bai Tu Long bays welcomed about 2.5 million tourists. The current fleet in service at both bays have a capacity for 10 million passengers a year, a far too high number compared to the needs. The reduction in boats will help to reduce the pression on the UNESCO Heritage Site and return some of the Bay’s serenity.