Due to the absence of a regulatory framework, kayaking activities in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province (North) ended April 1, following a decision by the Ha Long People's Committee.
Over the past few years, kayak and canoe trips have developed strongly in Ha Long Bay, but this has not been accompanied by the development of a management program by the Municipal People's Committee. In addition, the Ha Long Bay Conservation and Promotion Plan by 2020, approved by the Provincial People's Committee in 2015, does not have any articles on kayaking activities.
This lack of a regulatory framework has caused inconvenience to tourists, including the exaggerated prices and the inappropriate attitude of some reelers. Generally, a kayak ride was charged 10 dollars an hour, but sometimes the price could reach 20 dollars. These deviations have contributed to a deterioration in the image of tourism services in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh province in general. Faced with this problem, it was decided to discontinue the kayaking activities, which took effect on 1 April 2017. In the event of a violation, this decision specifies in particular the risk of banning the departure of the port for a period of 30 Days of all the other tourist boats of the incriminated units.
Misunderstanding on the part of tour operators and travelers
Tourists, who particularly appreciate these walks, deplore this decision. Kayak excursions were part of the "must-see" during a stay in the bay, as already mentioned by CNN, TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet. As for the tour operators, it is a total surprise. "We had to urgently inform our partners, reprint the brochures, review the advertisements and reimburse the customers," said Nguyên Hoàng, head of tour operator Handspan Travel.
"We have not yet found an alternative. Without a kayak, the bay will only be discovered on board cruise ships. Customers will be deprived of experience to walk along the cliffs, explore caves, "deplores Nguyên Tiên Dat, deputy director of Transviet.
Some foreign travel agencies have completely stopped their tours in the bay. Others, such as the German Chamäleon reisen, propose to the municipal authorities to review this decision. "If local authorities are unable to resolve the causes of the ban, it would be more appropriate to implement it at the end of the year so that it can be prepared" The tour operator.