Visitors to Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang city (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) – The Department of Tourism of central Da Nang city vowed to enforce strict penalties for foreign travel agencies and tour guides operating illegally, said the department’s Director Tran Chi Cuong.

Repeated violators will be deported or even banned from re-entering Vietnam by the Immigration Department, he added.

The Da Nang Department of Tourism will work closely with communal and district authorities to tighten checks on local hotels, tour guides and tour operators so as to prevent them from helping foreigners conduct illegal travel business in the coastal city.

Da Nang has so far imposed a total 215 million VND in fines on 12 illegal foreign tour guides and one travel agency for breach of tourism regulations, Cuong noted.

The city has seen a significant increase in Chinese tourist arrivals over the last few years. It welcomed an estimated 211,000 Chinese visitors in the first half of 2016, up 83 percent against the same period last year.

Chinese tour guides and tour operators have made use of such upward trend to offer unauthorised services to Chinese holidaymakers to the city.

According to the country’s tourism regulations, foreign travel firms must work with Vietnamese agencies and use local tour guides if they want to bring tourists into the country.

Many Chinese nationals have been illegally working as tour guides for groups of Chinese visitors, even though the city has 19 international tour operators organising tours for Chinese vacationers and nearly 2,240 licensed Chinese-speaking tour guides.

To tighten control on the problem, the city’s Department of Tourism held a meeting on June 30 with a number of local relevant government bodies, including the police, departments for immigration, taxation, labour, and industry and trade, and district people’s committees.

It also hosted a meeting with the local Chinese-speaking tour guides on July 1 to identify ways to improve their professional operation.-VNA