Sunday, 19 Nov 2017

Tour guide association launched to promote tourism

Updated at Monday, 13 Nov 2017, 09:19
The Hanoitimes - The Vietnam Association of Tour Guides (VATG) has been set up recently to protect tour guides’ rights and promote the country’s reputations as a growing international tourism destination.
Deputy President of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VNTA) Vu The Binh said that the number of tour guides in Việt Nam has increased sharply over the past years, to nearly 20,000 people at present. But in 2016 alone, the Government discovered 200 cases of fraudulent certification documents. In addition to legal violations, some tour guides lack necessary professional skills and fail to meet international tourists’ expectations. VATG aims to address those problems. 
Caption: The number of tour guides in Vietnam has increased sharply over the past years, to nearly 20,000 people at present.
The number of tour guides in Vietnam has increased sharply over the past years, to nearly 20,000 people at present.
“The guides are the ones who meet and interact most with tourists,” Binh said. “That’s why the impression of tourists on their journey depends much on these guides. However, more than 50 per cent of the guides do not have social insurance. Working without supervision of any state agencies, it understandable that there have been recent problems relating to tour guides.” 
The Law of Tourism 2017 prescribed the qualifications of tour guides, including that they must have tour guide card, be on staff at a specific tour agency or company or must be member of a social organization related to tour guides. The VATG will serve as a social organization that can provide necessary qualifications.
At the launch ceremony, Deputy Head of the Travel Department under the Vietnam Administration of Tourism Pham Le Thao said that the association filled an important need.
“The Vietnam Association of Tour Guides is a social organization for Vietnamese citizens working as tour guides. The association will represent its member’s rights and legal interests. The association will not only help its members to sharpen their professional skills, but also will develop the network of its members,” she said.
The nature of tour guide work, she added, creates challenges for Government agencies seeking to regulate the industry.
“Although the management of tour guides and their activities has been improved slightly, it is definitely not an easy task because the number of tour guides is quite large, plus they are working freely and are frequent travelers,” she said.
Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, recently urged the tourism sector to make efforts in the last months of the year to meet the target of receiving at least 13 million foreign tourists in 2017 — up 30 per cent year-on-year.
The number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first ten months of 2017 was estimated at 10.47 million, a year-on-year surge of 28.1 per cent, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam.
Anh Hong
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