Cruising Vietnam’s Halong Bay is about to get pricier, after the Quang Ninh people’s committee announced an increase in visitor fees.

Effective 1 January 2014, entrance fees and surcharges will increase by a further US$18 per tourist per night. This equates to a rise of 160 percent compared to prices in 2013.

The largest luxury cruise operator in Halong Bay, Bhaya Cruises business development manager Armand Cheveux says the increase could deter people from visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

He said: “We are very concerned by the increase.

“We operate 180 cabins and up to 5,000 passengers each month. This could easily result in around a US$75,000 increase per month for entrance fees only.”

Mr Cheveux said all cruise operators and DMC partners are discussing ways to share the burden.

For the New Zealand market, Bhaya Cruises will absorb the surcharge on previously confirmed bookings. The fee will also be exempt on new bookings for the line’s two-night program on the new boat, The Au Co.

Cruise Passenger has contacted Bhaya Cruises’ Australian representatives and is waiting on information regarding the Australian market.

Quang Ninh welcomed 4.67 million visitors during the first half of 2013. A nine percent increase on the same period last year.