HCM City to house European visa application centre
A new Schengen visa application centre will open in Ho Chi Minh City after the New Year.
Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Lorenzo Angeloni makes the announcement of the new Schengen visa application centre, to open in Ho Chi Minh City early January 2013.
The embassies of Italy and Spain in Vietnam announced this on December 5 and Italian ambassador to Vietnam Lorenzo Angeloni said the move aimed at providing a high level customer service to applicants for their visa process.
The two embassies are collaborating with London-based VFS Global, a worldwide outsourcing and technology services company for diplomatic missions and governments, to set up the centre.
Angeloni said the
signed an agreement for outsourcing Italy and Spain visa processing in Ho Chi Minh City to VFS Global to quicken the visa application process.
Antonio Bretones, head of Spain’s commercial office in Vietnam, said: “We’d like to make the whole process of applying for a visa to Spain easier for the citizens in Ho Chi Minh City, in order to encourage the exchanges between the two countries.”
“Hence, if these expenses are increased, tour organizers have nothing left to earn profits, and its understandable that they cancel the tours,” he explained. “VNA and travel agencies bid to boost domestic tourism has become fruitless due to the unreasonably high prices,” said Tran The Dung, deputy director of The He Tre Travel Co. “This occurs whenever holidays arrive, but relevant authorities seem unable to control it.
” Thousands of air tickets returned Khanh, of HTA, said that on April 25 many travel agencies announced that they had returned thousands of air tickets to VNA as they failed to sell their packages. The organizers accepted losing the deposits and paid fines to return on average of 60 – 100 tickets each, while some even gave back nearly 1,000, said Khanh. “We had to return 600 tickets for tours to the central part of Vietnam, and 300 for package to Hanoi,” said L., director of a HCMC-based travel agency.
“The room price in Da Nang on April 30
VND1.4 million per night, while the normal rate is only VND500,000.” Dung, of The He Tre Co, also said he had to return 70 air tickets for a similar reason. “We also lost the deposits at some resorts in Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, and Phan Thiet,” he added.Rampant smuggling along
border Smugglers are flourishing along the southwest border of Vietnam, blatantly bringing in commodities like sugar, cigarettes and wine into the country via Cambodia, to rake in profits during the Tet Lunar New Year.
Rampant smuggling over the last few days of illegal contraband goods have been flooding the city markets, most popular items being wine and cigarettes. Smugglers are going
through border gates in Long An, Dong Thap, An Giang and Kien Giang Provinces. Cambodia travel packagesSmuggling operations are swift and well organised, as within just 30 minutes, tens of motor boats carrying illicit cigarette packages land at the Ba Duc Wharf in Duc Hoa District of Long An Province.
There several youth are ready and waiting with motorcycles to transport the goods to Ho Chi Minh City markets. Local people say that all this smuggling activity is open knowledge and done publicly in broad daylight. Similarly, along Man Trau Canal in Chau Doc town of An Giang Province boats transport refined sugar and cigarettes smuggled in from Cambodia into Vietnam.
The Man Trau Canal is the main waterway route to transport contraband goods from Cambodia into An Giang Province, where tens of warehouses in Vinh Nguon Commune in Chau Doc town stock the contraband goods. Several local people here are dependent on smuggling racketeering as a means of livelihood. Border communes in An Phu District and Chau Doc town in An Giang Province are flooded with Thai refined sugar, illegally smuggled in via Cambodia.
Petrol too is being sold in huge volumes across the Cambodian-Vietnam border at VND26,000-27,000 per litre in Tinh Bien and
Tien International Border Gates in An Giang and Kien Giang Provinces. Smugglers are happily raking in a profitable VND5,000-6,000 per litre. Anti-smuggling forces in An Giang Province have uncovered and dealt with 2,174 contraband cases in 2011, an increase of 23 percent over the previous year. Total fines issued were VND14 billion, not including 850,000 cigarettes packs worth VND8 billion that were confiscated.
According to provincial authorities along the southwest border, each year they seize smuggled goods worth tens of billions of dong, a miniscule amount compared to the total volume. Vo Thien Ngo, head of the Market Management Department in Long An Province, expenses provided from the State budget for anti-smuggling operations are insufficient. There is also a lack of trained human resource and facilities to nab smugglers.