New rule forces CEOs of travel firms back to school

31-Oct-2018 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Management agencies have made it mandatory for tour operators and managers of travel firms who have yet to obtain a college diploma in travel services or a certificate in travel management to add these qualifications or take part in a travel profession training course for a certificate.

The relevant agencies also noted that travel firm leaders who do not comply will be fined.

The regulation, included in the 2017 Tourism Law, is the subject of controversy. Many representatives said the prevailing laws already have provisions to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of customers, so the new regulation merely creates obstacles and will not help them improve their business practices.

The law specifies that managers of travel firms or heads of travel departments in tourism companies must get a college diploma in travel services or a certificate in travel management.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Circular 06/2017 stipulates that this rule applies to the chairperson of the board of directors, the chair of the member council, the chair, owners of private firms, the general director, the director or deputy director and the head of the travel division.

The circular, which also requires majors in travel to include service and tourism management, travel management, tour operation, tourism marketing, travel service and tourism management and trade, came into force on February 1 and has a transition period of one year. Therefore, enforcement of the rule must happen by early 2019, resulting in the relevant agencies’ recent calls for supplementary qualifications.

Most entrepreneurs said that the new rule was inappropriate, causing a waste of time and money for enterprises. Enterprise owners explained that as travel is identified as a special business sector directly related to public safety, before starting up a travel business, entrepreneurs must conform to a number of laws, including the Enterprise Law and the Tourism Law, and place a deposit of hundreds of millions of dong to settle all problems customers may face. They are also forced to buy insurance for their customers.

As such, the regulation requiring travel managers to return to the classroom neither contributes to safeguarding the rights and interests of customers nor helps raise enterprises’ competitiveness because customers wanting to buy tours typically focus on travel firms’ reputation, prices and service promotions rather than travel service managers’ certificates and degrees.

According to an announcement released by an HCM City-based school licensed to hold examinations to grant certificates in travel management, the fee to apply for the exam ranges from VND2.5 million to VND3 million per person. Applicants take two days to revise and have two days to take the exam.

Data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism shows that as of end-2017, the country alone has 1,752 international travel firms, and many directors or managers of travel services at these companies do not have formal degrees or qualifications in travel management. As a result, all of them will have to return to school in line with the new regulation.

Further, those who studied tourism abroad will have difficulty avoiding being subject to the rule as Circular 06/2017 requires the degree conferred by a foreign university or college to be recognised by the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Meanwhile, some have suggested the rule goes against the government’s strategy to create a favourable business environment and simplify business conditions.


Category: Economy, Vietnam

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