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Outbound tourism remains largely uncontrolled

There are millions of Vietnamese tourists traveling abroad every year with expenditures amounting to billions of U.S. dollar, but this segment has yet to be controlled tightly and is in need of more effective management measures.


Vietnamese tourists in Turkey are seen in a file photo. The outbound tourism
seg-ment needs to be controlled more tightly in the coming time.

This information was given in recent discussions to amend the Tourism Law held by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT). Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA), said that the outbound tourism was quite sensitive over the past years as it is considered as the cause of foreign currency bleeding. As a result, the outbound tourism is not controlled and mentioned in tourism development reports, he added.

The management agencies almost have no statistics or tight regulations on this segment. Therefore, in addition to such regulations as buying insurance for customers, travel firms operate independently and in fact, there have been many accidents and frauds abroad.

“The tourism industry has not had an exact number of outbound tourists each year, but according to a source, it is around two million visitors. If so, this segment needs a stricter management and a clearer development planning as tourists need more protection when spending an annual sum of up to US$2 billion,” said Binh.

Vietnam currently has around 1,000 travel firms offering international tourism services, with 30% operating in the inbound segment and 70% in the outbound segment.

According to Binh, when amended, the Tourism Law needs to regard the outbound tourism as an important segment of the tourism industry. This will not only bring tourists more benefits but also ensure the fairness for firms.

“While travel firms of the inbound segment take millions of tourists to Vietnam and operate under several regulations, there are no regulations governing the outbound segment, which is quite unfair,” he added.

Hoang Thi Diep, deputy head of VNAT, said that opinions voiced by firms would be collected and discussed in the next amendment, perhaps in 2013. “We will propose to amend many issues, including regulations regarding the outbound segment,” she said.

According to a report of the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, there were an estimated two million customers in HCMC and neighboring provinces traveling abroad through Tan Son Nhat Airport and Moc Bai Border Gate last year, up 11%.

SGT

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