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Da Lat opens rip-off hotline as flower festival set to start

Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 11:34 GMT+7

Any visitors who are overcharged during the Da Lat Flower Festival, slated for opening on Tuesday evening in the namesake city in the Central Highlands, should call a hotline and the city’s deputy chairman may pick up the phone.

The annual Da Lat Flower Festival runs from December 29, 2015 to January 2, 2016, under the theme of “Da Lat – Colorful Flowers,” with multiple events and activities expected.

The Da Lat City administration hopes to attract 500,000 visitors.

But with rip-offs and overcharged room rates remaining a big headache for local authorities, a 24/7 hotline to receive all reports and complaints from visitors is essential.

Ton Thien San, deputy chairman of the Da Lat administration, is the main official in charge of the hotline, 0941 245 245, which is open to complaints about hotel and restaurant rip-offs during the five festive days.

The city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has also publicized four phone numbers overcharged visitors can call to report their cases.

Visitors can either call Mai Viet Dang, head of the inspectorate of the department, at 0918 564 036, and his deputy Nguyen The Hung, at 0913 225 969, or contact the tourist support center at 063 372 5555 and 063 365 3333.

It is not uncommon for dining and lodging services in Da Lat, the capital of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, to send their prices through the roof whenever there is a festival to rip tourists off.

A large number of local hotels have hiked their room rates by anywhere from 100 to 250 percent, as tourists flock to admire the annual flower festival.

Several hotels have announced that they either run out of rooms or simply adjusted their rates to a significantly higher price than usual, despite local authorities' commitment to preventing this situation from occurring.

As of Monday, some 45,000 tourists had flocked to Da Lat, according to the latest statistics by the organizers. From Tuesday to the end of the festival, there will be around 100,000 visitors arriving in the city on a daily basis.

About 60,000 rooms in 700 hotels in Da Lat are anticipated to provide enough accommodations for tourists, according to the city’s administration.

“In case of any accommodation shortage, we will encourage local residents to offer homestay services at reasonable prices to tourists,” said city chairman Vo Ngoc Hiep.

There will be nine main programs and 19 sub-activities during the five festive days, according to the organizers.

There will be a “space of flowers” set up around Da Lat’s iconic Xuan Huong Lake, while Le Dai Hanh Street will be turned into a street of flowers, and Ho Tung Mau Street will become a hub showcasing the city’s famous coffee, tea, wine and other specialties.

Other activities include a fireworks display, a flower and vegetable flea market, and a ceremony to honor flower growers.

Fifteen businesses and 110 local flower farmers will be featured at the event as typical examples of Da Lat’s traditional flower growing sector.

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