HCMC: Switchboard providing for 24/7 tourist help

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have kick-started a switchboard – the first in the country – to offer tourist information and assistance in both Vietnamese and English on a 24/7 basis.

Leaders of the Departments of Tourism, Information and Communications, and the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group on Wednesday put the city’s Tourist Information phone number, 1087, on line, local media reported.

The first of its kind in Vietnam, 1087 offers a wide array of information in both Vietnamese and English on tourist services and scenic spots in the southern metropolis and across the country.

Traveling to Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh - Switchboard providing tourist help

Eye’s bird view of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City

The switchboard operators will also contact tour operators and book air tickets, tours and hotel rooms on tourists’ behalf.

Tourists can also provide feedback on service quality and report rip-offs and incidents they encounter during their stay in the city.

The switchboard operators will show them how to contact competent agencies for assistance.

Radio station The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) cited Le Quoc Cuong, deputy head of the Department of Information and Communications, as saying that the phone line is meant to add convenience to tourists’ stays, and spur the development of local tourism.

Those in the city only need to dial 1087, while people in other provinces add 08, the city’s area code, ahead of the phone number when they make calls from land line phones.

The 1087 service charges VND3,000 (US$0.14) per minute for landlines and VND5,000 per minute for cell phones, according to The Saigon Times Online.

The newswires cited the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism as reporting that the city welcomed 4.4 million international tourist visits and 17.6 million domestic visits, and earned a total revenue of over VND86 trillion ($4.01 billion) last year.