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Currency move stings tourism operators

State regulations banning price quotations and transactions in foreign currencies is hurting travel firms.

Two taxi firms incurred fines amounting to VND1 billion ($47,600) since they quoted prices in US dollars and recently a Tra Vinh firm incurred a penalty of VND50 million ($2,380) as it was found to transact $100 illegally have bothered travel firms.

Hoi An Tourism marketing director Nguyen Son Thuy said Decree 95/2011/ND-CP, putting a ban on posting prices and making transactions in foreign currencies, had put the company in a bind.

“We mostly quote prices and devise planning in US dollars since our business partners mainly come from overseas. The difference in the dong-dollar exchange rate is particularly big when we calculate the contract total value,” said Thuy.

Saigon Restaurant Ship director Tran Thi Huyen said many foreign customers gave up tours since the regulation banning price quotations and transactions in foreign currencies took effect from late October 2011.

The Saigon Restaurant Ship, managed by a leading travel firm Saigon Tourist and anchored in Bach Dang harbour in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, every night brings diverse foreign visitor groups to travel along the Saigon River. Quoting prices in dong currency has also confused foreign visitors.

Head of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Travel Division Nguyen Viet Anh said some tourism companies petitioned the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association asking it to reconsider the regulation forbidding price quotations in foreign currencies.
The association is reportedly mulling forwarding a dispatch to the State Bank to help firms.

Travel firms argued it would take time for them to shift into using dong currency instead of US dollars in planning international transactions and would make planning using dong currency from 2013. Besides, state management agencies must ensure a small gap in bank and free market exchange rate to reduce implications on firms.


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