The authorities of Haiphong City have decided to impose a sharp increase in fees for Cat Ba Island, sparking strong protest from cruise operators.
Cat Ba Island
Under the newly-issued resolution approved by Haiphong authorities, from January 11 this year, charges for visiting Cat Ba will be increased to VND80,000 (USD3.47) for adults, while VND40,000 (USD1.73) is applied for children. Adults will be charged VND50,000 to visit Cac Ong, Monkey and Cat Dua islands and Thien Ung Pagoda and children will be charged VND25,000 for these places.
The fee for one night stays in local bays will be VND300,000 for adults and VND250,000 for children. The fee will rise to VND400,000/adult and VND350,000/child for a two-night stay. The three-night stay fee will be VND500,000 for adults and VND400,000 for children.
Vu Thanh Liem, director of Pelican Ha Long-Cat Ba Cruise JS Company said that the abrupt application of higher fees is unreasonable, particularly when fees were raised by 750% from VND40,000 to VND300,000 for visitors to stay one night at local bays.
Cruise firms were informed by Cat Ba Bay Management Board on January 9 about the fee rise. A meeting was held on January 10 without any representatives from district authorities. Then cruise operators were then requested to implement the higher fees a day later, Liem said.
According to Liem, most of the local cruise companies had signed contracts with their partners based on 2018 fees. So it was necessary to have an appropriate roadmap for the fee hike.
Nguyen Van Luan from Ecofriendly Tourist Company said that such high fees should be applied when Cat Ba Island’s infrastructure was better. He cited the poor quality services at the port for collecting passengers as one area in need of improvement. Some islands lack rescue team and medical support is weak.
Hoang Hong Luan, vice chairman of Cat Hai District, said the new fees were imposed following instructions from municipal authorities. Luan highlighted that the district will gather opinions about the fees and report to the city’s management agencies for consideration.