Foreigners may be barred from being tour guides
Foreigners may no longer be licensed as tour guides in Vietnam, a conference on draft amendments to the Law on Tourism in Hanoi on November 7 heard.
Article 52 of the draft stipulates that tour guides must meet certain conditions, such as having Vietnamese nationality and be living in Vietnam, which would exclude foreigners.
Mr. Phan Thanh Binh, Head of the Committee for Culture, Education, Adolescents and Children, said that foreigners should continue to be licensed as tour guides in Vietnam but the Committee is concerned that doing so has many risks regarding national security and social order and safety. Foreign tour guides that lack full knowledge about Vietnam may affect the country’s image and historical truth.
Most other countries around the world do not allow foreigners to become tour guides. Vietnam has about 7,400 domestic tour guides and 9,900 foreign tour guides, figures from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) showed.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said that tourism can only become a key economic sector if its role is fully clarified. For this reason, any amendments to the Law on Tourism should remove obstacles to reduce the difficulties facing enterprises and create fair competition. Open policies would improve tourism development and enhance competitive capacity, he added.
Along with amending the Law on Tourism, the government is also reviewing the Law on Investment 2014 as tourism investment is not currently subject to incentives and stipulations on investment incentives in Article 6 of the Law on Tourism are not suitable with the existing circumstances and will be adjusted.
Meanwhile, tour guide cards are currently only issued to people with a university degree or higher and this has led to many experienced tour guides not being able to be licensed. Minister Thien therefore suggested that the need for a university decree be replaced by a tourism vocational certificate.
In an effort to improve tourism quality, a pilot project will be conducted from January 1 on issuing e-visas to international visitors. The entire process, from submitting applications to the issuance or refusal of a visa, will be conducted electronically, with payment available by bank transfer. The application criteria remains unchanged.
VN Economic Times