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Lift the ban on kayaking in Halong Bay

After a month of investigation and hundreds of complaints and requests from travel agents, operators, and visitors, the Halong Bay authorities have finally lifted the ban on kayak use from 1 May, 2017.

Kayaking in Halong Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay

It wasn't so long ago that Quang Ninh’s Tourism Board put in place a complete ban of kayak use in of Halong Bay - an unexpected sudden decision that left hundreds, if not thousands, of travel professionals, tour operators, travel companies, local and foreign tourists frustrated. While authorities and other entities supported the ban, it had a negative impact for tour operators and travel companies, including the need to reproduce and reprint their existing marketing materials at significant cost.

According to the official letter released by Quang Ninh’s Tourism Board, the reasons behind the ban were many; however, one of the major reasons was inconsistent operations: fees to kayak differed greatly among operators, and tourists began to complain about the difference. The Board decided to take immediate action to protect the reputation of the UNESCO World Heritage site as a destination of choice for travellers.

On 26 April, authorities reassessed their decision against the province’s future in tourism. An article released by Bao Quang Ninh, said that the Halong Bay People’s Committee had developed a management plan for some of the recreational activities in the area, including the use of kayaks. After being pressured by different groups, the local government revised its regulations and authorised tour companies, specifically cruise operators in Halong Bay, to include the use of kayaks in their itineraries. However, before proceeding, private entities were required to submit the required documentation and inventories by 15 May. 

From 1 May, kayaks are permitted in Halong By, but - according to the official letter released by the People’s Committee - in only eight designated areas: Ba Hang, Luon Cave, Tung Sau Pearl Farm, Cua Van Floating Village, Vung Vieng Floating Village, Hang Trinh Nu, Cong Do Area, and Hang Co. To ensure the safety and quality of these services, the chairman asked companies to abide by the rules and regulations set by the authorities, arrange for staff to control and manage the designated areas, and clearly define boundaries to tourists.

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