This is the first time that a professional association of tour guides in Vietnam has published a document not only allowing its members to receive tips, but also setting the levels of tips that tour guides can receive.
The Board of Directors of the Professional Association of Phu Quoc City Tour Guides has sent a notice to its members and partner companies stating that tour guides who are members of the association may collect tips from travelers in Phu Quoc , from May 15.
Tipping is 25,000 VND per traveler per day for Vietnamese travellers, $2 per traveler per day for Asian travelers and $4 for other foreign travellers.
Current laws in Vietnam do not say that travelers should pay tips to tour guides. The tipping of tour guides depends on the traveler.
Tips and compensation from travel agencies are important components of tour guide income. Collecting tips increases the legitimate income of tour guides, while tips show travelers’ satisfaction with the service they receive.
Tour guides strive to please travelers so that they can receive lavish tips after the tours end.
Some travel agencies collect tips in advance and deliver them to tour guides, while others do not mention tips when negotiating with partners.
The business expenses of tour guides are not high, they are even lower than the salary of skilled factory workers.
A welder, for example, can earn between 800,000 and 1 million VND per day, while the professional expenses of an English-speaking tour guide who serves incoming travelers can receive between 500,000 and 600,000 VND per day. Meanwhile, a tour guide for domestic tours can receive around 500,000 VND, although he works overtime.
For domestic tours, in general, travel agencies do not mention tipping when designing tours, as tour guides and travelers discuss tipping. As a result, some travelers tip tour guides and drivers, while others ignore it.
In general, travelers do not tip tour guides if the tour lasts only one day. National tour guides do not dare to ask for tips.
Tips given by travelers on domestic tours vary between 25,000 and 30,000 VND and 100,000 VND per day. Many travelers are unaware of tip levels and simply follow the crowd.
In some cases, when tours end, travelers refuse to tip tour guides because they don’t feel satisfied with the way they are being served, and the tour guides have to accept it. However, outbound travelers do not “forget” to tip travelers, as they need the help of tour guides when implementing entry/exit procedures at airports.
Regarding overseas tours, some travel agencies collect money for tips from customers when they pay a tour fee, $3-$6 or $10, depending on the destination (Asia, Europe or United States). If travel agencies do not collect money for tips in advance, they remind travelers that tour fees do not include tips, and after tours have ended, tour guides may collect tips openly.
Meanwhile, the scenarios are different. Some markets, like Japan, don’t usually tip tour guides. However, it seems that almost all foreign travelers give advice to tour guides to encourage them. Therefore, tour guides have to work hard to keep travelers happy so that they are tipped at the end of tours, although they don’t know how much they will receive.
In many countries like the United States, paying extra fees to reward the service is quite normal.
As the tips expected by tour guides are not fixed and publicly advertised, this affects the attitude and quality of service of tour guides, especially non-professional tour guides who value their earnings very highly.
They even “bargain” with companies and choose to serve groups of many travelers. In some cases, tour guides focus on picking up affluent travelers, who spend a lot of money on shopping and neglect other travellers, thus causing backlash from other travellers.
Thus, the decision of the Phu Quoc Tour Guides Association is a breakthrough in thinking. It is the only tour guide association in Vietnam that operates independently and does not belong to any local or national tourism association.
Nguyen Duc Chi
NV ready for tourist guide shortage
More than 15,500 licensed tour guides have been laid off for more than two years due to the pandemic and many have decided to leave the tourism industry for good to earn a living elsewhere.
Nearly 9,300 tour guides affected by the COVID-19 pandemic receive help
By the end of October this year, 9,294 tour guides nationwide had received cash assistance worth a total of US$1.5 million.