Hoi An to issue tourist cards
Hoi An and the UNESCO office in Ha Noi plan to develop a tourist card to replace entrance-tickets used to enter the old section of the ancient city.
Pham Thi Thanh Huong, from UNESCO, said the idea was proposed at a recent meeting on promoting tourism. The meeting was held to develop plans to create the most favourable conditions for tourists visiting the world heritage area.
At present, 40 per cent of revenue is lost through the sale of unauthorised tickets. Huong said there was a need to fully explain to the public and tourists that the need for entrance tickets was tied to restoration work.
“About 90 per cent of tourists do not know that entrance tickets to the old town and destinations are compulsory, or why,” she said.
Vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, Truong Van Bay, said the plan was to develop a multi-option tourist card from 2015.
Hoi An Party secretary Nguyen Su said 85 per cent of ticket sales in Hoi An were used to restore old houses and relics of the UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites.
“We have collected a total of VND255 billion (US$12.1 million) from ticket sales in 14 years. The city contributed VND160 billion ($7.6 million) to the State budget, of which VND104 billion ($5million), was refund for restoration of heritage,” Su said.
He also criticised some travel agencies for taking tourists to the town after 6pm, because entrance was then free.
“Some guides intentionally take tourists down alley ways to avoid paying,” he said.
Foreigners pay VND120,000 (about $6) and locals pay VND80,000 to visit the old town, which includes entrance to five major destinations.
However, the chairman of the city, Le Van Giang said flexible ticket collections did not always work for tourists who wanted to wander around the old town on their own.
He warned that some travel agencies still included entrance tickets in package tour prices, adding that poor attitudes by ticket inspectors upset some tourists.