Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

The new fees of transport and overnight accommodation services in Halong Bay are applicable for September and the fourth quarter but the decision was issued on August 30 by the Department of Finance. However, several travel firms received the announcement just a few days ago, and many others have even not heard of this price hike.

Specifically, the transport fee for boats having 20-35 seats and 36-48 seats are VND300,000-400,000 and VND400,000-500,000 per boat per hour respectively. Besides, the respective fees for third-grade and second-grade boats are VND500,000-600,000 and VND600,000-700,000.

The fee can be revised up by 30% on holidays, travel seasons and at weekends.

The price of overnight accommodation service of fourth-grade boats ranges from VND700,000 to VND1.5 million per 24 hours per customer, VND1.5-2.5 million for third-grade boats, VND2.5-4 million for second-grade boats and VND4 million for first-grade boats.

According to Bai Tho Trading Investment and Tourism Service Joint Stock Co., a travel firm offering boat services in Halong Bay, while regional countries are lowering service fees to attract tourists, Quang Ninh Province does the reverse with the new fee for transport services rising by nearly 100% from the old rates.

The firm said that the number of tourists visiting Halong Bay has declined considerably due to high transport costs. It is expecting intervention from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) to set a suitable service fee.

Some travel firms providing international cruise ship services said that the price increase would leave a huge impact on the number of tourists visiting Halong Bay as the bay was a favorite destination of cruise tourists. From this winter until early next year, cruise ships will bring thousands of tourists to Ha Long every week.

After several months of decline, the number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam last month jumped 61.6% year-on-year to reach 460,000, raising the total number of tourist arrivals in the January-September period to 4.85 million, up 13% from the same period last year, according to VNAT.