In a recent incident in Vietnam, Winner International Travel Company is being fined for breaking travel service regulations. This action comes after 292 Taiwanese tourists were left stranded on Phu Quoc Island.

Vietnam Travel Agency Faces Fine After Leaving 292 Tourists Stranded
(Photo : Tam Nguyen on Unsplash)

Vietnam Travel Company Fined for Stranding Tourists

Winner International Travel Company had initially agreed to a contract with We Love Tour, a Taiwanese travel company, starting Sep. 12 of the previous year. They received a deposit of 700,000 TWD (US$22,317) on Jan. 18. However, a disagreement over pricing led the Vietnamese company to terminate their services on Jan. 31, without receiving a clear response from their Taiwanese counterpart. Despite halting their services, they retained the deposit.

According to VNExpress International, the situation worsened when the Taiwanese tourists arrived at Phu Quoc International Airport on Feb. 9, only to find no transportation or hotel arrangements. The Vietnamese company then demanded an additional $720 per person for the services. This unexpected fee was agreed to by only 90 of the tourists. 

The Kien Giang's Department of Tourism in Vietnam has accused Winner International Travel Company of violating service regulations by both retaining the deposit and charging extra fees after unilaterally ending the contract. Bui Quoc Thai, director of the tourism department, stated that an investigation is ongoing to determine the responsibilities of both companies involved in this incident.

The affected tourists were finally able to return home on special flights on Feb. 14. The exact amount of the fine imposed on Winner International Travel Company has yet to be disclosed. This incident has negatively impacted the reputation of both Phu Quoc and Vietnam's tourism industry.

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Vietnam's Da Lat Sees Tourist Boom During Tet Holiday

Da Lat, a popular resort city in Vietnam's Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, experienced a significant rise in tourist numbers during the Lunar New Year, or Tet holiday. From Feb. 8-12, which marks the first five days of Tet, the city welcomed about 153,000 visitors. This number is 22.4% higher than last year.

The increase highlights Da Lat's growing popularity as a vacation spot during one of Vietnam's most celebrated festivals. The city saw a mix of both international and local visitors. According to Travel and Tour, around 10,800 international tourists visited Da Lat, an 8% increase from last year, while the number of Vietnamese tourists was about 142,200, up by 20.16%.

The Tet holiday, which continued until Feb. 14, was expected to bring even more tourists. Da Lat's hotels, especially those with three to five stars, were projected to have an occupancy rate between 90 to 95%. Other lodging facilities expected rates of 75 to 85%, indicating a busy time for the city's hospitality industry.

Da Lat is known for its unique geography and culture. Located on the Lam Vien Plateau, 1,500 meters above sea level, it covers 394 square kilometers and has a population of about 260,000 people from different ethnic groups. The city is famous for its cool climate, beautiful landscapes, and cultural heritage, including the UNESCO-recognized gong culture. Additionally, Da Lat's connection to Vietnamese music and its aim to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in music further enhance its appeal.

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