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More foreign travel offices shut down in Ho Chi Minh City

posted Jun 23, 2011, 8:26 PM by Dong Travel   [ updated Jun 23, 2011, 8:55 PM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
The number of representative offices of foreign travel firms in Ho Chi Minh City has fallen to seven from 11 last year as restrictions imposed on representative offices have discourages them to maintain operations.

An official of the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Deparment of Culture, Sports and Tourism told the Daily that the city had nine such offices in 2009 and then 11 in 2010 but some have been closed lately.

"Some representatives told us that the business was not as good as expected, which forced them to close their offices,” he said. He also added that some companies had complained about the complicated procedures in obtaining licenses for representative offices.

The first licenses for foreign travel companies' representative offices were issued in 2009 after a long time of disruption due to the absence of a circular providing guidance for implementing the Tourism Law.

Under prevalent rules, representative offices of foreign travel firms are not allowed to engage directly in revenue-generating business. These offices can carry out marketing activities to promote their companies’ image in Vietnam.

The official said the department had warned some offices for breaching the law by arranging tours for foreign travellers in the country.

"Some companies have opened offices for arranging tours in Vietnam. We are tightening checks on the activities that also make some stop their operation", he said.

However, a businessman told the Daily his company still does not want to open an office in HCMC because the market size was still small.

"We are looking at the market and will take new moves when the market is bigger", he said.

According to the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, international arrivals in HCMC in the first half of this year would reach 1.65 million, up 10% year-on-year.

Around 60% of the visitor, or 990,000, came to the city for travel purposes, while 300,000 arrived here for business and 360,000 came to see their relatives or for medical treatment.

Source: SGT