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Japan suspends visa service of 8 Vietnamese travel agencies over ‘missing tourists’ cases

Wednesday, July 03, 2019, 15:31 GMT+7
Japan suspends visa service of 8 Vietnamese travel agencies over ‘missing tourists’ cases
Vietnamese tourists enjoy themselves a flower festival in Japan. Photo: H.T. / Tuoi Tre

Eight Vietnamese travel agencies are no longer allowed to apply for Japanese group visas on behalf of their customers after some of their tourists disappeared while in Japan.

The companies, all based in Hanoi, had been accredited by the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam to apply for visas on behalf of Vietnamese tour groups.

However, they had “seriously violated” the commitments made with the embassy and therefore had their privilege either revoked or suspended, the Japanese Embassy said in a statement posted on its website.

Du lich Viet (Viet Tourist), Vietnam Golden Team, Nam Cuong, Tan Hoang Gia (New Royal), Quoc Te Hoang Cau (International Golden Bridge), Thang Loi (Victoria), and Hanoi Entertainment Services Corporation had their privileges permanently revoked from July 1.

Meanwhile, the Hanoi branch of Vietravel, a leading tour operator in Vietnam, had their accreditation suspended for six months starting July 1.

A Vietravel representative said they arranged for more than 566 groups with nearly 17,000 tourists to visit Japan in 2018.

Among these tourists, three have gone unaccounted for in Japan while two others returned to Vietnam later than scheduled, the representative said, adding that such guests accounted for only 0.03 percent of the company’s total tourists to Japan last year.

“Although we always take measures to prevent our tourists from illegally staying behind, a few cases were still reported in 2018,” the representative said.

“Tourists intentionally overstaying their visa not only gives their travel agencies a bad reputation but also makes foreign countries tighten visa policies toward Vietnamese citizens.”

Some 178,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Japan in the first four months of 2019, up 30.3 percent year-on-year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Vietnam was among the top ten sources of visitors to Japan in 2018, and the country that saw the most significant growth last year, according to the organization.

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