State agencies fight over tour guide card granting fees

The war between the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and local departments of culture, sports and tourism on the card fee sharing proportion has become more violent.

Local departments have been uniting, claiming for the higher fee proportions they can enjoy when granting practice cards to tour guides. “VNAT only has to undertake little volume of works. Therefore, it would be fair if we can get 60 percent of the fees,” said La Quoc Khanh, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Who deserves to get more money?

The Ministry of Finance’s Circular No. 48 stipulates that local tourism departments collect the fee of 650,000 dong for every international tour guide card and 400,000 dong for every domestic tour guide card.

Of these amounts, local tourism departments can retain 30 percent, while they need to transfer 60 percent to VNAT and pay the remaining 10 percent to the state budget.

Prior to that, when the Ministry of Finance consulted with local authorities when drafting the circular, the HCM City People’s Committee suggested that 60 percent would go to the local budget, 30 percent to VNAT and the other 10 percent to the state budget. However, the suggestion was rejected by the ministry.

The argument broke out when the Tourism Information Center of VNAT announced the sale price of 110,000 dong per card. Since local tourism departments have to pay for the cards, they would only pocket 10,000 dong for every domestic card and 85,000 dong for every international card. Meanwhile, VNAT automatically receive 380,000 dong and 240,000 dong, respectively.

Khanh from the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism complained that local tourism departments have to handle the biggest volume of work, while the fees they can collect are not big enough to cover expenses on scanner, stationary and pay for extra works.

Khanh went on to say that his department has granted 1900 domestic cards, while the more cards it grants, the biggest loss it suffers.

Amid the repeated complaints from local authorities, a Deputy Minister of Finance sent an urgent dispatch to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, requesting the ministry to reconsider the fee sharing proportions and reply prior to August 30, 2010, to the ministry for adjustment.

However, no new news has been released so far. Relevant ministries made promises, but no official decision has been made.

Khanh said that VNAT’s leaders once promised to pay for the cards, but it has not legalized the promised so far.

Only in October 2011, did VNAT reply to the HCM City and Binh Dinh tourism departments, admitting the difficulties of local authorities, while informing that it would prop up the money for the leather cover and string for every card granted.

In late March 2012, the agency informed that VNAT would provide strings and covers to the cards granted by local authorities from 2011 to the end of the first quarter of 2012, in order to ensure the same form of the cards. At that time, tour guides only received cards with no cover and string, because local authorities reasoned the limited budget.

What is the way out?

Though VNAT released a document promising to pay for leather covers and strings for all the cards to be granted from April 2012, in its dispatch, VNAT suggested that local tourism department would get 40 percent of the total fee and VNAT 50 percent.

However, the suggestion has been rejected by local tourism departments. The Hanoi and HCM City departments want 60 percent for them and 30 percent for VNAT. Even the Ninh Binh provincial department has also claimed 50 percent.

As such, no solution has been found for the shameful arguments among the state agencies.


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