A cruise ship caught fire at Tuan Chau port on May 6 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Authorities of the northern province of Quang Ninh have been requested to better ensure tourists’ safety and quality of services, a move following several accidents and mismanaged services there.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said on May 23 that it sent a document to the provincial People’s Committee, asking for strong actions to minimise risks in the transportation of tourists by inland waterway vehicles in Ha Long Bay.

The administration noted that there have been many accidents relating to tourist vehicles that have caused big property and life losses in recent years.

On May 6, a cruise ship named Aphrodite caught fire at Tuan Chau port, and many passengers had to jump off the ship. Although no one was injured, the property damage was big and visitors’ concern has risen, the VNAT said, adding that such incidents have negatively influenced Ha Long’s image.

Overcharging and impolite behaviour towards tourists are still common. VNAT quotes the bad behaviour of the Hong Long cruise ship’s staff members towards a group of Vietnamese tourists on May 15 as an example. The incident was reported in newspapers and has worsened the tourism name of Ha Long, as well as Vietnam, the administration stressed.

VNAT has asked Quang Ninh authorities to order relevant agencies to beef up management and take synchronous measures for ensuring safety for tourists and cruise ships in Ha Long Bay.

It told the province to pay attention to ship registration, fire and explosion prevention, and search and rescue training for staff on cruise ships and floating restaurants in the bay.

While inspection of tourism services should be strengthened, violators must be stringently punished.

Quang Ninh needs to ensure that local services providers publicise the charge for each service, and improve the operation of tourist information centres and hotlines. Additionally, it should step up communications and training to raise tourism workers’ capacity and sense of responsibility, the VNAT emphasised.-VNA