Travel company has licence revoked for links to fleeing tourists in Taiwan hinh anh 1Headquaters of International Holidays Travel Co., Ltd  in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The Tourism Department of Ho Chi Minh City has decided to revoke the international travel business licence of International Holidays Travel Co., Ltd which provided visa services for 152 tourists who fled in Taiwan (China).

The revocation will last for 12 months, beginning from December 28, Nguyen Minh Ly, chief inspector of the municipal  Tourism Department said on December 30, adding that the company will also have to pay an administrative fine of 33 million VND (1,419 USD).

Ly said the business has violated the Tourism Law as it changed the address without informing competent agencies within 15 days, had no written contracts with tourists or their representatives and did not guide tourists under the contract and tour programme.

According to the department, the company has not provided relevant documents proving the legality of the signing of the visa service contract with Taiwan’s ETholiday Company and two other Vietnamese companies.

On December 29, Hanoi’s Department of Tourism also said it reclaimed the international travel business licence granted to the Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Co., Ltd, one of the two companies that signed Taiwan tour contracts for the 152 tourists.

Hanoi-based Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Co., Ltd, and Twin Bright Company Limited referred the 152 Vietnamese tourists, divided into four groups, to HCM City-based International Holidays Travel Co., Ltd.

ETholiday asked International Holidays Travel Co., Ltd to aid the tourists with their visa arrangements. When the tourists failed to show up at their tour destinations, ETholiday sent a report to police.

ETholiday said it received four groups totalling 153 Vietnamese travellers from December 21 to December 23, but by December 23, 152 had disappeared from the groups. The only one accounted for at the time was a 17-year-old boy.

Apart from revoking the company’s licence for nine months, the Hanoi Department of Tourism imposed a 48.5 million VND (2,085) fine on the Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Co., Ltd, due to its violations of regulations on reporting mechanism, storing documents, making written tour contracts with tourists, using tour guides without registered licences, and managing its tourists.

For the Twin Bright Company Limited’s involvement in the case, the department transferred the case to Hanoi police for further investigation into its legal representative Le Thanh Tung, who signed the contract with International Holidays Travel CO., Ltd but said he did not know the purpose of the signing of the contract.
Furthermore, Twin Bright Company Limited’s registered business licence deals with advertisement and communications, not international travel activities.

Eleven out of the 152 Vietnamese tourists who went missing in Taiwan were detained by the local authorities for investigation, according to the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

Three were detained by police as they are accused of violating laws on Anti-Human Trafficking, Immigration and Labour Code of Taiwan (China).

Taiwanese authorities said that investigation into the case is underway.-VNA