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Vietnam to Put an End to Freelance Tour Guides From Next Year

Vietnamese tour guides might have a hard time with the government once an updated set of regulations take effect next year.

As VnExpress reports, in 2018, a new version of the Law on Tourism with stricter guidelines on how tour guides operate will be put in place. Specifically, freelancers will have to sign contracts with authorized travel companies or tour agencies in order to do business.

Tourism authorities also established the Vietnam Association of Tour Guides in October as an alternative organization to represent guides.

Come next year, self-employment might not be an option for local tour guides, who currently only need a license to do their job.

The updated law is an attempt by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to have more control over the country’s tourism personnel. According to the agency, Vietnam currently has some 20,000 tour guides, 90% of whom are freelancers; however, they lack supervision by authorized organizations.

Pham Le Thao, an official from the tourism authority, told the news source that since 2016, her agency has caught about 400 freelance tour guides using fake certificates to apply for a license.

However, by involving supervisory organizations, tourism officials might be able to provide more protection for local guides. In September, many Chinese-speaking tour guides in Da Nang submitted a petition voicing their concerns over Chinese citizens offering unlicensed tours.

Some tour guides are not happy about the new law due to the fees required for a membership in the Vietnam Association of Tour Guides: a VND500,000 registration fee and an annual VND1 million maintenance fee.

[Photo via Vietnam Tonkin Travel]

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