Thứ Sáu, 18 tháng 12, 2015

Vietnam a place to live, not to invest: Australian reader

Foreign tourists cycle on a rural street in Hoa Binh Province, located in northern Vietnam.Tuoi Tre
Editor’s note: Keith, an Australian, has many things to tell about his five years living in Ho Chi Minh City and wanted to share with Tuoi Tre News readers as to why most expats prefer enjoying the lifestyle in Vietnam to investing here.
Vietnam has been described by analysts as "an opportunity squandered."
It's just crazy that a few "bad apples" ruin what could be one of Southeast Asia's leading destinations.
We have the best climate. No monsoons, cyclones and tsunami. Over 3,000 kilometers of beautiful coastline and the mountain areas are mostly still not visited apart from Sa Pa. 
But it is the lack of policing of these criminal scammers that ruins it for everyone.
Most tourists here all take home stories of how they were scammed in Vietnam.
The police here seem more interested in confiscating plastic chairs and tables of street vendors than catching real criminals.
A lot of expats will not invest here. They prefer to leave their money in safer areas and just live here with the basics.  
Personally I have lost count of the scams, lies and nonsense I have encountered here in five years.
Luckily I have not fallen for anything other than a few extra dong on a taxi or food item.
But I have been offered fake licenses by police officers, asked to invest in dodgy business deals, asked for loans for crazy ideas, etc.
I did not pay though. I basically see it as amusing and just laugh it off.
If my initial encounter was courteous without all the scams and lies, I would have bought a house, maybe married, started a business and invested here.
But since the early warning signs of stealing, lies and scamming were so obvious I have decided not to invest.
I just live here enjoying the lifestyle and low-cost economy.
I have a long term five-year lease; I painted and installed air-cons and new windows, also furniture. The owner can keep that when I leave and I fix all repairs myself and pay the lease 12 months in advance. 
My landlord likes me as a tenant, and I generate business for him by advertising his apartments to foreigners.
I also do volunteer teaching and help a local family in need.  
I believe I contribute something here and it would be nice if scammers found something better to do with their time. 
Because eventually foreigners will trust the local environment they live in and spend more and then everyone benefits.
There's an old saying. Cheats never prosper. It does pay to be honest.
Why tourists won’t return
I am just wondering if Vietnamese tourism realize that hardly any tourists return here. 
They say that about five percent of the tourists return, while Thailand has a roughly 55 percent return rate. That is ten times what comes back here, even though it is more expensive in Thailand.
But the five percent supposedly coming back to Vietnam are not tourists. They are mainly expats living here doing visa runs. So actually there is nobody coming back.
People are sick and tired of the nonsense and petty scams that go on here.
Tourists will not buy anything here because most things are cheapies, knock-offs and copies.
I have lived here for five years and rarely buy anything apart from food.
When I need something I get it in Hong Kong, Australia, or Malaysia, for I know I get the real thing.
Forget shopping at trade centers like Vincom as the goods are more expensive than in American and Australian stores selling the same things, and who knows if it is real or fake.
The petty scams are only turning away the bigger dollars. Most tourists only come here to "tick off" Vietnam from their list of places. They will never look at it as a repeat destination given the nonsense that goes on here.
How many places allow beggars into restaurants to stand beside your table selling gum, pencils and maps while you are trying to eat?
They only leave if you repeatedly tell them to go away. That's not a good experience for people.
Unfortunately, a lot of people see Vietnam as just cheap and nasty.
It is time people here woke up. The game is almost over for Vietnam.
Everyone knows what's going on here. Unless you get some common courtesy and decency into your game, you will be left behind. 

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