Ho Chi Minh City Depart of Tourism chastised for ‘tourism tax’ proposal

The ‘sensitive’ proposal appears to be an overstep by the department

Foreign tourists are seen in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism has been reprimanded by the municipal administration for submitting a proposal to impose a new ‘tourism tax’ on overnight visitors to the southern Vietnamese metropolis.

The rebuke was issued shortly after the controversial proposition to charge tourists roughly US$1 for every night spent in Ho Chi Minh City made national headlines on Thursday.

A statement from city administrators criticized the tourism department for “proposing sensitive content that affects the tourism environment without consulting the Standing Committee of the municipal administration [in advance].”  

As a result, the tourism department will also be required to revoke its proposal and submit a self-criticism report to the administration by October 15.

In its proposition, the department said the ‘tourism tax’ would allow Ho Chi Minh City to fund improvements to its tourism infrastructure and promotional campaigns.

While some travel firms have voiced support for the idea, many industry insiders say the new fee will discourage tourists from visiting Ho Chi Minh City, considering the current cost of tours to the southern metropolis is already quite high.

Other critics say that although $1 per night might seem trivial, the total sum could be significant for holidaymakers on multiple-day trips.

The idea for the tax seems to have come from countries such as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Malaysia, who already impose similar fees on visitors to certain cities.

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