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Many Vietnamese tourists have been defecting while on outbound tours to stay in foreign countries.
The latest case occurred in early last December when a delegation of 15 Vietnamese tourists all fled before lunch without a passport in their hands after a Hanoi-based travel firm taken them to Israel.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Israel said it was the third such incident.
Nguyen Tien Dat is the Marketing Manager of TransViet Travel Company. The company organised a tour to South Korea for a delegation of dozens of people from a major construction company. Two of them fled when they arrived.
An investigation has found that the company’s director helped the two defectors. The director is said to have asked them to pay tens of thousands of USD.
Many Vietnamese choose S. Korea for its visa policies
“Many Vietnamese tourists to South Korea have relatives and friends abroad. In several cases, they meet their relatives and openly say goodbye to tourist guides who can do nothing to hinder them. Some of them need a visa, while the more daring don’t bother. They often forge land use right certificates to prove their financial capacity,” Dat said.
Nguyen Huu Lam, Director of Arirang Office in Vietnam, said they have recorded Vietnamese tourists fleeing to South Korean by the dozens
The number of Vietnamese tourists fleeing to Hong Kong is also considerable. In order to stop it, Chinese Embassy in Vietnam changed their visa policies for Vietnamese.
Several tour operators in Europe have had to tighten controls over tourists at airports to prevent possible absconders.
Vietnamese tourists abscond to foreign countries
Statistics by the Vietnam Tourism Association showed that around 3.5 million Vietnamese people travelled abroad in 2012, including 120,000 going to South Korea.
One tour operator was fined USD10,000 because so many people fled from their tours. Many other companies are facing stricter visa policies.
Travel firms have taken a special attention in tourists from Haiphong City, Quang Ninh, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Ha Tinh provinces, places from which there is a high rate of tourists fleeing.
The Chinese Embassy in Vietnam has frankly refused to grant visa to tourists from Haiphong and Quang Ninh to Hong Kong.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has issued an official dispatch to clamp down on the illegal stays in foreign countries.