Ships bringing tourists to explore the famed Ha Long Bay in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh will now depart from a new international port capable of docking cruise ships, instead of the old, deteriorated wharf.
The Quang Ninh administration has decided to gradually move all ship operations from the old Bai Chay tourist wharf to the newly inaugurated Tuan Chau international passenger port, newswireVnExpress reported on Thursday.
Tourists will now depart from the Tuan Chau port for sight-seeing tours around the UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay, around 150km east of Hanoi.
The Bai Chay wharf is currently overloaded, while its infrastructure is severely deteriorated, prompting local authorities to put the new port into use.
It is expected that all tourist ships will start operating at the new international port by the end of this year, whereas the Bai Chay wharf will be officially closed before the summer of 2016, according to the local administration.
The Tuan Chau international passenger port, operated by Au Lac Quang Ninh Co. Ltd., was inaugurated on July 28 to receive domestic and international vessels offering the Quang Ninh and Ha Long Bay services.
The port, located south-southeast of Tuan Chau Island, off the province’s Ha Long City, consists of two docks, measuring 1,143 meters and 4,411 meters, respectively.
Au Lac Quang Ninh Co. has been asked by local authorities to lower fees to attract tourist ships to the Tuan Chau port.
Local travel firms said the relocation of the tourist port in Quang Ninh creates both disadvantages and advantages for passengers.
The new port has better infrastructure and its location is nearer to Hanoi, compared to the old one, according to tour organizers.
However, industry insiders are concerned that the Tuan Chau port will soon become overloaded, as the Bai Chay wharf already is, unless more docks are added.
“The current two docks at Tuan Chau are now enough to serve a few tourist vessels with frequent operations there,” Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails Co., told The Saigon Times Online.
“But when hundreds of ships flock there, the port will be overloaded and tourists will suffer inconveniences similar to those at the Bai Chay wharf.”