Foreign ROs Dwindle with Declining Tourist Arrivals

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Dec. 16 – Foreign tourism companies with representative offices in Ho Chi Minh City have closed down in the past year due to declining tourist arrivals.

The number of representative offices were estimated at 16 last month from 24 in September last year reports Thanh Nien News with most of the foreign tourist companies coming from South Korea, the United States, Japan, France, Australia and Taiwan.

“Some companies were no longer in the business while others kept changing their addresses,” an official from the tourism department told Thanh Nien News.The global financial crisis has dissuaded people from overseas travel. From January to November of this year, a total of 3.4 million arrivals were recorded, a 12.3 percent decline from the same period last year, says the Vietnam National Tourism Administration.

Other tourists spots in the region were also affected with South Korea declining by 21.4 percent, China by 19.4 percent and Japan by 8.9 percent.

Foreign travel firms complain that decreasing tourist arrivals have hurt their business and forced their local partners to look for clients on their own. Moreover, foreign travel companies cite that delays in the implementation of the Tourism Law makes it harder for them to maintain business in the country.

It was only late last year that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued its first guidance for travel representative offices in the country despite the law being in effect since 2006. This delayed the issuance of  licenses to foreign travel firms and stopped foreign firms from renewing their expired licenses. Some foreign travel firms have resulted to moving addresses and changed phone numbers without informing the authorities.