Tourist boat owners oppose ‘white’ order

The People's Committee of Quang Ninh Province has ordered that tour boats operating on Halong Bay be painted white to be able to renew their image following the bay's designation as certainly one of the new Seven Wonders from the Globe. Most boat operators, nevertheless, are opposed towards the choice.

Below the provincial order, 500 tour boats operating on the bay should be repainted white and fit having a brown sail (if the boat utilizes a sail) prior to April 30. Dragon boats may be painted having a dragon head in conventional colours. Boats which fail to comply will shed their permission to operate on Halong Bay.

"The choice assists the State much better manage the services becoming provided, especially to tourists who remain overnight on the bay," stated a representative from the province's transport authority. "We aim to develop an international trademark for tourism in Quang Ninh Province. This also assists give a brand new image towards the boats and also the bay."

Opposing the choice, the Halong Yatch Association has submitted a petition towards the People's Committee.

The association director, Doan Van Dung, stated that white boats would trigger the bay to shed its characteristic beauty and also the oriental image produced by the present brown colour from the boats.

"The white colour is only fit to get a big iron ship or yatch," stated Bai Tho Transport Business director Pham Van Hoa. "When we paint a wooden boat white, the white colour will soon alter."

Boat operators argue that white as well as other colours as soon as existed on the bay but had been replaced naturally simply because they had been not suited towards the characteristics of wooden boats. The image of brown boats was lastly selected and became the trademark of Halong Bay tourism.

"Foreign tourists have already been usually impressed using the brown and black colours from the boats on the bay, that are imbued with Vietnamese cultural identity," stated the deputy director from the Vietsky Travel Business, Dao Hong Thuong. "That's why we should not copy foreign cruise ships and need the boats to become white."

However it will be the large price of repainting the boats that's most causing boat owners to balk in the new policy.

"It will price VND30-40 billion (US$1.5-2 million) to paint all of the boats," stated Dung. "Before it announced this choice, the province ought to have sought the opinions of tourists and travel businesses."

Based on association statistics, amongst the 500 boats operating on the bay are 350 little boats providing cruises by the hour and 150 bigger boats on which tourists can remain overnight.

"It requires about 20 days to repaint a large boat and ten days to get a small boat. It'll be extremely challenging to finish all the repainting in time simply because this really is the busiest time for foreign tourism," stated Binh Minh Tourism and Trade Business director Nguyen Dang Bay. "Many boats are 60-70 per cent booked for the period from January to April. It would possess a unfavorable influence on the prestige from the tourism services in Halong Bay."

January to April can also be the season of damp, drizzly weather, creating it additional challenging to paint boats throughout this time, Bay stated.

"If, following all, we should alter the colour from the boats, we ask the province to help us in financing the function and fixing a longer deadline," he added.

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