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Vietnam travel firms receive early bookings from Viet Kieu

2009-12-31 (GMT + 7)

Tour operators in the country have received early bookings from overseas Vietnamese returning home for the Lunar New Year 2010 or Tet, with several firms reporting busier business this year.

It is expected that the number of overseas Vietnamese, or Viet Kieu, returning home will be much bigger than that last year, and many of them have booked domestic and outbound tours during the holiday. HCMC’s tour operators say that such travelers are making reservations earlier than the last holiday.

Saigontourist Travel Service Co. as of on Monday had received bookings from over 2,100 Viet Kieu, up 20% compared to the same period of last year. Most of these tourists have booked domestic tours to favorite destinations such as Phu Quoc Island, Hanoi, Sapa, Danang, Hue, Phong Nha, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet.

“Guests are booking tours earlier than in pervious years. Many travelers have chosen four-day tours. As for more lengthy tours, tourists are interested in trans-Viet tours for 12 days,” said Doan Thi Thanh Tra, marketing manager of Saigontourist.

So far, the tour operator has introduced 15 tours for Viet Kieu during the holiday, including overland and air tours to explore attractions in Hanoi, Halong, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, the Central Highlands as well as the south.

Vietravel has reported an even bigger number of 3,600 overseas Vietnamese tourists during the holiday. Of them, 1,200 people have booked domestic tours and 2,400 have reserved outbound tours. The tour operator also said these visitors are making reservations earlier than last year’s holiday.

The local news website VnExpress on Monday quoted the Overseas Vietnamese Committee as saying the country would welcome half a million Viet Kieu this Tet, the ever-highest number for the traditional holiday. No comparison with figures from previous years is given, however.

Some other tour operators, meanwhile, said business could not be as good.

Nguyen Viet Hung, general director of Fiditourist, said the company has yet calculated the number of these tourists, but estimated a lower number this year than last year’s.

Lai Huu Phuong, director of Ben Thanh Tourist Travel Services Center, gave the same downbeat remark. He added that the returning tourists are more interested in tours to the Central and the Northern regions.

Source: VietNamNet/SGT

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