In addition to Vietnam’s unfavorable visa policies, the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of airports and the unfriendly attitude of airport employees have discouraged international tourists from returning to the country, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper readers.
Many readers have complained about the inhospitable attitudes of airport staff in the Southeast Asian nation’s airports.
According to reader Khanh Dao, customs officers at local airports are unfriendly, bad-tempered, and rarely smile.
“I feel terrible at airports. I can imagine how foreign travelers who come to our country for the first time feel," she commented.
“Whenever I visit Thailand, it takes me only five minutes to complete procedures, and the customs and security employees there are very polite.
“I am Vietnamese, but honestly, I also feel upset by the security employees at domestic airports.”
Similarly, reader Le Thi Ca suggested that “local management agencies re-train all employees at airports, seaports, and tourist sites so that they will smile at passengers.
“They should also ensure that toilets are clean. It's a small thing, but it’s important.”
Many other readers shared Ca’s sentiments, with the general consensus being that increased hospitality will inspire guests to make repeat visits to Vietnam.
“I get really annoyed and upset when I arrive at Tan Son Nhat or Noi Bai International Airports, or other domestic airports. All the employees are emotionless, high-handed, and rude,” said reader Pham Thiet Hung.
|Passengers complete procedures to travel abroad at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Tho / Tuoi Tre|
How does Vietnam compare to others?
Reader Nguyen Duc shared that, several years ago, he flew to the U.S. and transited at Narita International Airport in Japan for three hours.
“While I was wandering the airport, all the employees there, from cleaners to security employees, said ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ to me," Duc recounted.
“Before boarding, the entire aircrew and security staff stood in a line, bowed, and said thank you to all passengers. It impressed me a lot.”
Meanwhile, reader Tuan Tran shared that his experience in Vietnam’s airports has been far from hospitable.
“I witnessed a situation in which a member of a group of Asian travelers forgot his boarding pass but an immigration officer at Tan Son Nhat International Airport told them to ‘get out of here’ without any instruction or support," Tran recalled.
Meanwhile, reader Erik criticized the computer systems used at Vietnamese airports, saying they are old and slow.
Particularly, the data retrieval process for customs procedures is time-consuming, not to mention automatic as it is in other countries.
“Airport staff attitudes need no comment. Most of them behave badly in the eyes of Vietnamese people, let alone foreigners," Erik remarked.
“Their ability to deal with issues, which are different depending on their role, is bad as well."
A reader with the nickname Ph. Duong concluded that “if several flights land at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at the same time, passengers will have to queue up for 1-1.5 hours to complete check-in procedures.”