Vietnam allows 27 firms to serve Lao, Thai tourists
The companies are mostly based in Danang, Quang Tri, Nghe An and Thua Thien-Hue on the central coast, and affiliated to a club comprising tourism services firms in the central region, which debuted late last year.
VNAT said only the club members can arrange tours for Lao and Thai people to the country via the border gates of Nam Can, Cau Treo, Cha Lo and Lao Bao. Other companies wanting to organize cross-border tours must cooperate with the club members.
The list has been sent to relevant authorities in seven central provinces – Danang, Quang Nam, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Nghe An, Thua Thien-Hue and Ha Tinh.
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Cao Tri Dung, chairman of the club said that the club applied the minimum prices for three popular overland tours designed for Thai and Lao guests, ranging from US$105 to US$170 per person. The club has worked out many joint programs to promote places of interest.
“We hold 99% market share (in the central region), so we need better services and more marketing activities to retain and develop the market. In the past, we had few activities to promote services and build tourism products,” Dung said.
According to him, more than 200,000 Thai and Lao tourists traveled to the country by road last year.
Nguyen Quy Phuong, Deputy Director of the Travel Department under VNAT, said the decision to allow only the club members to organize overland tours for Thais and Laotians would apply in short term.
“This decision is designed to find ways to resolve the problems that have plagued the tourism sector in the central region, such as price undercutting and unfair competition. So the club will have to expand its membership,” he said.
Phuong said VNAT and authorities in the seven provinces had many times met to seek a way out and that in the end, all the parties concerned agreed to encourage travel firms to club together to better serve tourists and condemn bad competitive practices among tourism firms.