|Cruise ships in Ha Long Bay receive few tourists these days. — Photo laodong.vn
According to the Quang Ninh Inland Waterway Port Authority, only about 10 cruise ships departed Tuan Chau tourist boat port on August 9, taking a few hundred tourists around Ha Long Bay.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the central city of Da Nang, Ha Long Bay used to welcome over 10,000 passengers per day during the week and the figure was normally two to three times higher at weekends.
However, in the past two weeks, 500 cruise ships on the bay have served around 100 to 200 tourists per day, according to the representative of Quang Ninh Inland Waterway Port Authority.
Therefore, the owners of the cruise ships on Hạ Long Bay have sent letters to the Ha Long Tax Department asking to suspend operations.
“My ships have stopped working since August 1 and I have sent an official letter to the tax authority asking to suspend the operation of my ships until the end of August in order to avoid tax of VND8 million (US$345) per ship,” said cruise ship owner Nguyen Van Minh, adding that he would continue to suspend his business if the situation did not improve.
According to Nguyen Van Phuong, deputy director of Ha Long Tourist Boat Association, stopping each vessel would save the owner from VND7 – 10 million ($302-432) in taxes.
“The customers are few so there might only be one trip per week, which does not offer sufficient revenue to pay tax. We have suggested calculating the tax by trip or the number of passengers in the current situation but this has not been approved by the authority,” he said.
Presently, over 500 cruise ships in Ha Long Bay offer jobs for thousands of employees. However, during the pause of operations due to COVID-19 since December of last year, the ship owners and staff have not been included in the list of recipients of the Government’s VND62 trillion ($2.6 billion) financial support package. VNS