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Tourism firms’ thirst for awards resolved with poor prizes

Tourism firms’ thirst for awards resolved with poor prizes

Friday, December 06, 2013, 11:04 GMT+7

It was not until the last month of 2013 that the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) began to organize the award-granting ceremony to honor tour organizers that won the Vietnam Tourism Award for 2012.

Sixty-two leading tourism businesses were honored on December 4 for the achievements they made in 2012 during a ceremony held by VNAT and the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA). This is not the first time the organizers handed over the Vietnam Tourism Award one year late.

A spokesperson of a major hotel said his facility failed to apply for the award as it was only announced in October, which left them little time to prepare the application.

The organizers said they only obtained permission from the government for the event in August, and thus could not hold the ceremony earlier.

Travel agencies need awards to feel honored and encouraged for their effort to boost the country’s tourism industry, but like the Vietnam Tourism Award, several recently granted awards lack credibility and an adequate set of norms and standards.

They are thus deemed valueless by the recipients.

Many awards have been given with loose standards so that every participant can be a winner. One such award intended to hand over 20 prizes but there were only 11 applications. Hence, each participant was granted at least two prizes.

A tourism newspaper recently granted an award intended to honor travel companies for their good management and quality services to Intour, an infamous tour organizer based in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District.

In October, Intour had its international tour organizing license suspended for three months by the city’s tourism department and was fined VND31.5 million for business violations.

The award organizer admitted this is a bitter lesson in “not having close enough supervision and adequate standards for the winners.”

There are even awards where recipients are asked to “donate” organizing fees to win prizes. The greater the donation, the better the prize.

“It’s as if you are buying the prizes. We feel no honor with awards like these,” the director of a travel company said on condition of anonymity.

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