For nearly a month many tour operators in the central region have complained of the increase of the ticket prices to cultural heritage sites in the provinces of Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue.
From November 1, the Center for Culture and Sports of Hoi An has increased the ticket price to visit the old town from VND45,000 ($2.1) to VND60.000 ($3)/ticket/3 sites for local tourists and from VND90,000 ($3) to VND120,000 ($6)/ticket/five sites for foreigners..
Mr. Nguyen Trong Tuan, director of the Hoi An Tourism Center, said that in previously years, November used to be the peak time but this year the number of foreign visitors reduced by around 20 percent.
Though the number of Asian visitors rose, the number of European tourists (the main source of revenue in foreign currency) decreased by 15 percent. Meanwhile, their spending also fell.
“Furthermore, for contracts signed for 1-2 years, we cannot increase fares so we have to compensate losses. In the time of difficulty, the local government should support, improve infrastructure for tourism instead of increasing fare,” Tuan said.
From April 16, 2012, the prices of tickets for Hue relics have also simultaneously increased. The highest level for local tourists is VND50,000 ($2.5)/ticket and VND80,000 ($4)/ticket for foreign visitors.
Specifically, the fare for visiting the Royal Citadel and the tombs of King Tu Duc, King Khai Dinh and King Minh Mang for foreign visitors has increased from VND55,000 to VND80,000 and from VND35,000 to VND 50,000 for Vietnamese tourists. With children, the ticket prices are respectively VND20,000 and VND10,000.
Yet, officials of the Center for Conservation of Hue Relics and the Center for Culture and Sports of Hoi An said that the increase is moderate. The fare increased to have revenue to restore monuments and improve sanitation, landscape at destinations and to put into use the tram system.
Many tour operators said that under the Government’s regulations, from July 2011, provinces and cities must apply the same fare for domestic and international visitors.
However, in many places, the discrimination between domestic and foreign visitors still exists. This distinction is one of the reasons making revenue loss and for many foreign tourists to not come back.