UPDATE: Tourists “do” have to pay a fee to enter Hoi An’s old own, most of the time…
Tourists “do” have to pay a fee to enter Hoi An’s old own, most of the time…
As news of the $6 fee to enter Hoi An’s ancient town mushroomed throughout the various forms of /media in mid-April 2014, and the general feeling of disgruntlement swelled among tourists and residents alike, the government temporarily suspended implementation of the new fee policy, and held a few emergency meetings to discuss what to do.
The outcome? Various members of the Hoi An Peoples’ Committee said they probably didn’t handle the implementation of the entry fee very well, but that the fee will remain, for the following reasons and with the following adjustments and ‘flexibilities’:
-The entry fee remains because the local government has invested a great deal in building cultural spaces to serve tourists, and revenue is needed to recoup some of that investment and allow for those spaces to be maintained.
-They won't be so draconian in enforcing fee payment at the border gates – upon entry to the old town, foreign visitors will be invited to purchase tickets. If they say they were unaware of this, they will be invited to visit the town without having to purchase a ticket.
-Vietnamese tourists who visit the old town as individuals or families can enter for free.
-Sometime in the future, tourists who stay in Hoi An for several days will be given a card, with their photo portraits. They have to buy only one ticket to get in and out of the town during their entire stay here.
-Travel/tour agents will be expected to promote the message and rationale behind the fee. The town government will fine any travel firms that collect entrance fees from tourists but do not supply these tourists with official tickets.
-As always, the streets are totally open between 11:00am and 3:30pm. No border guards, no fee. The same phenomenon occurs in the early morning before 08:30am, and late at night after 9:30pm.
In conclusion, sadly, ladies and gentlemen, the amended policy outlined above spells the end of that fleeting-yet-magnificent game of Avoid the Attendant… Our only consolation is that for seven daylight hours (in summertime) you can enter the old town for free, not to mention most of the night for those nocturnals lurking amongst us.
By Peter Mahomet