Da Lat tells tourists to be ‘decent’ and ‘civilized’
Lam Dong Province, home to the popular highlands resort town of Da Lat, has issued a list of rules for tourists that includes a dress code and shopping guidelines.
The code of etiquette, drawn up by the province’s tourism department, asks visitors to be “civilized, decent and responsible”, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
They should wear suitable clothing, respect cultural differences, avoid littering and stealing, and queue in line when they are shopping or buying tickets.
The purchase of undocumented goods and wildlife products is deemed “inappropriate” behavior, the rules state.
Hotels, restaurants and other services are also warned not to overcharge, sell copycat or low quality products, or pester customers.
The code of conduct is based on a national set issued by the tourism ministry in March this year, and will be printed in Vietnamese and English in time for the annual Da Lat Flower Festival in late December.
Lam Dong received around three million visitors in the first half of this year, of which foreign travelers increased 44.3 percent from a year ago to more than 204,400.
The Central Highlands province is best known for Da Lat, which is often dubbed “Little Paris” due to its colonial history.
A motorbike ride under the cherry blossoms is one of the many reasons people fall in love with Da Lat. Photo by Nguyen Khanh Hoang
The mostly quiet and charming town, surrounded by pine trees, flowers and vegetables farms, is famous for its cool climate and has gained in popularity both as a romantic getaway for lovers and an oasis in a country that usually sweats all year round.
But like many places across Vietnam, Da Lat has both benefited and lost out to the recent travel boom.
Its center is covered in garbage on big holidays, when complaints of thefts and rip-offs are not uncommon.
This year, Da Lat has reported multiple cases of local gangsters and racketeering gangs colluding with businesses to scam travelers, usually on strawberry farms or in souvenir shops.
The gangs have reportedly threatened to assault tour guides and drivers from several travel companies who have refused to lure tourists into their traps.
The issue got physical in May when a tourist was beaten after trying to return a product, prompting the government to order immediate measures be taken to protect visitors from these new groups of gangsters.