Tourists suffer in stand off between forest rangers and tour operators
  • | vietnamnet, | December 10, 2015 03:42 PM

Fourteen tourists were left abandoned on the sidelines of a dispute between tour operator of Le Mitchell Company and forest rangers in Quang Binh Province after a decision to fine them for parking in the wrong place.


Tourists have to wait outside

At 9am on December 1, a group of 14 foreign tourists were on a Le Mitchell Company trip to explore Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The forest rangers went by when the group stopped at a slope down Dong Tien Cave to take pictures.

According to the forest rangers, the slope was near a cliff which made it a dangerous place to stop at. The tour operator arrived at the headquarters of Forest Ranger Unit 6 two hours later. The tour guide rejected the rangers' decision and refused to sign the report.

The fourteen tourists had to sit outside, while the tour operator finally agreed to the sign the report at 2pm.

Dinh Huy Tri, director of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, said, the tour of the local caves had begun being offered by the Le Mitchell Company four years ago. However, the company often violates the national park's regulations and has been warned several times.

"We told the operator to deal with their tourists first so they can continue their trip but the operator tried to use their unhappiness to blackmail us," Tri said.

Also on the same day, a group of four tourists were reported by the rangers for stopping at wrong place. The operator also opposed the decision, however, the four tourists called another car after waiting too long under the sun.

Tri and the rangers said the company had violated Clause 1, Article 9 in Resolution 157 on forest protection and management. According to regulations on forest protection and management, individuals and organisations will be fined from VND50,000 (USD2.27) to VND200,000 for organising illegal tour trips.

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