HCMC wants to establish tourist police bureau

The HCMC government has just asked the municipal Police Department to consider a plan to establish the tourist police bureau to protect tourists in the city, an official said.

Foreign tourists walk along Le Loi Street in downtown of HCMC on Tuesday. The city government wants to have a tourist police bureau to protect tourists

La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told the Daily that the city as the country’s biggest tourism center welcoming some 60% of international visitors to the country needs a professional team to protect tourists.


“Because of lacking police (in the previous years), the city has established teams of tourist security guards to carry out the mission but HCMC is the big tourism center so we really wants tourist police to better cater to visitors, ” he said.


Khanh said the city government had just asked relevant departments to consider the plan and need more time to translate it into reality. “(It is) because the plan needs to be approved by higher ministries, ” he said.


Both tourism officials and entrepreneurs have many times asked for the establishment of a police agency to cater to tourists like in other countries such as Thailand and Hong Kong.


In 2006, the city established the tourist guard team with members recruited from the HCMC Voluntary Youth League to serve as security guards. The team now has nearly 200 members serving tourists in downtown areas and tourist sites.


Feedbacks from tourists in the year to date have shown incidents occurring to them, especially harassments by vendors and pickpockets, according to the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Many tourists have lost personal belongings like cameras, cash, and cards and even their carrying bags.


“The security guards helped tourists in many cases but the team does not have strong capacity to carry out the mission, ” he said.


International arrivals in HCMC in the first half this year total an estimated 1.65 million, up 10% year-on-year.

(Source: SGT)