12th February 2024 – (Hanoi) Hundreds of Taiwanese tourists who purchased Lunar New Year travel packages from Taiwanese travel agencies were left stranded on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. The five-day, four-night tour was scheduled to depart on February 10, the first day of the Lunar New Year. However, on the second day of the trip, the tourists received a notification stating that each person would need to pay an additional US$720 (approximately HK$5,600) to continue with the itinerary, potentially leaving nearly 300 tourists stranded on the island.
The travel agency involved in the incident responded on the 12th, stating that the tour was assigned to four local Vietnamese travel agencies. While the other three agencies had no issues, this particular agency encountered an unexpected situation. The travel agency has since made emergency arrangements with other local agencies to assist the stranded tourists.
One tourist took to Facebook to describe the incident, claiming that on the second day in Vietnam, they received a message from the local travel agency indicating that the Taiwanese travel agency had only paid less than 10% of the tour cost, making it impossible to continue with the remaining itinerary. The tourists were informed that they would need to pay an additional US$720 per person. The Taiwanese travel agency allegedly promised to arrange guides and buses for the following day but failed to fulfil this commitment.
The frustrated tourist criticized the situation, stating that it was their first time travelling abroad with family for the Lunar New Year, only to encounter fraud. They expressed disappointment and stated that it would be better to travel independently in the future.
Regarding the incident, the Taiwanese travel agency explained that this was an unforeseen situation. Typically, Taiwanese tours are assigned to four local Vietnamese travel agencies, but only this agency experienced an unexpected issue. They have since made urgent arrangements with other local agencies to transport the tourists and continue their itinerary.
The Taiwan Tourism Bureau mentioned that the travel agent and several local Vietnamese travel agencies are suspected of having financial disputes, which affected the itineraries of tourists departing on 9th and 10th February. The Tourism Bureau is actively coordinating between the two parties to ensure the smooth return of the affected tourists. Additionally, the Tourism Bureau will collect specific evidence to investigate whether the actions of the travel agency violate any regulations within the travel industry.