Tourists who are lost in Vietnam or frustrated with a poor service can now call a new travel hotline operated by state-owned telecom giant VNPT.
The service, at (08) 1087, was launched on Wednesday, according to a post on the government website.
Tourists calling to the number will receive information of popular destinations, traditions and ongoing events across the country. They will also be connected to travel agents if they want to book tickets for a tour or program. Tourists can also call to ask for help and instructions over security issues or to complain about tourism services.
The call service, operated from Ho Chi Minh City, is available 24/7 in English and Vietnamese. It has been busy during the first days and sometimes calls cannot go through.A staff member recommended that those in need try calling several times.
The city in late January launched four digital tourist info stations for similar purpose. Each station has a touch screen of 47 inches that can connect to Google Maps and display information of hotels, restaurants, café and shopping places nearby. It also allows tourists to search for entertainment activities in the city, promotion programs and new government policies, or to make emergency calls to 113 for police, 114 for firefighters and 115 for ambulance.
The first four stations are located at the city Opera House, the Central Post Office, the Youth Culture House and Saigon Hospital, all in District 1. The city plans to open around 200 more stations in the next two years to serve tourists. It received nearly 4.4 million foreign arrivals last year, or more than half of the foreigners coming to Vietnam.
Tourism contributes 11 percent to the city government’s total revenue. The city’s tourism income hit VND86 trillion (US$4 billion) last year, accounting for 34 percent of the country’s tourism earnings.