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Quang Ninh to Ban Overnight Cruises in Ha Long Bay 'Soon'

Spending a night on Ha Long Bay will soon be a thing of the past, according to Quang Ninh authorities.

Officials in the northern province recently announced a forthcoming ban against overnight cruises operating in Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bays, to be enacted “soon”, reports Thanh Nien.

Quang Ninh has a number of plans in the works for its most famous tourist destination, including a scheme which will replace the bay's wooden boats with metal vessels in the next five years. This, officials say, is aimed at improving the safety and service quality of tour operators in Ha Long. While we'll miss the iconic wooden vessels, this may not be a bad idea: last year, a Ha Long cruise ship went up in flames during an overnight stay on the water, and this wasn't the first time it happened.

At present, 553 ships operate in Ha Long Bay, with 202 spending the night on the water, according to Thanh Nien. Together, these vessels can accommodate a full 10 million passengers, however last year Ha Long saw just 2.5 million tourists, leaving a major gap between the supply of tour boats in Ha Long and the demand. As a result, Quang Ninh officials have begun issuing 15-year operating licenses to wooden boats in the bay rather than the standard 25-year ones. If, however, all goes well with the metal boat plan, these wooden vessels may find their licenses cut short anyway.

In future, tourists to the famous bay will also have more on-land accommodations from which to choose, including a new Vinhomes mega development.

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