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Upcoming holidays: fewer tourists, higher hotel room rates

2010-04-08 (GMT + 7)

Vietnam Travel firms all agree that there will be fewer tourists during the April 30 – May 1 holiday this year than in 2009. Meanwhile, they complain that hotel room rates have increased due to artificially-created shortages.

Fewer tourists
Some travel firms have introduced new destinations for the holiday, such as Con Dao Island and Phu Yen province, which may be attractive to tourists who like beauty but not crowds. Only a few tourists have booked these new Vietnam tours.
Very few have registered to go to Con Dao Island. Explaining this, Phan Van Vinh, an travel firm executive, noted that few flights go to Con Dao every day (one flight per day with over 60 seats), while there are five flights per day to Phu Quoc islands. Tourists to do not want to go by other means because it takes 10-12 hours to arrive
Nguyen Ngoc An, an executive at Fiditour, also remarked that few book tours to Con Dao because of its limited ability to receive guests. There are only two big hotels, including Saigon-Con Dao Hotel with less than 100 rooms, and Con Dao resort, with 50-60 rooms. The other hotels are tiny, with just 5,7 or 10 rooms.
Meanwhile, tour fees (three days and two nights, including air tickets) has increased to 4.1 million dong per guest (it was 3.6 million dong last year) due to higher airfares and service fees.
As for Phu Yen, Vinh said that the beach is very beautiful and there are many attractive excursions, but people do not want to travel a long way.
The He Tre Travel Firm this year launches a series of new products, including tours to the north, Dong Van stone highland – Bac Me – Gam River – Na Hang (TUyen Quang province) – Nang river and Ba Be Lake (six days and five nights). However, the firm admitted that very few people have booked the Vietnam tour
New outbound tours also have few travelers. Tran Thanh Cong, Deputy Director of Hanoitourist, revealed that as soon as Vietnam Airlines opened the Hanoi-Yangon (Myanmar) direct air route, the company designed a 4-day tour to Myanmar, but only some groups have booked the tour.
While people ignore the new tours, they still like familiar ones, especially those to forests or beaches to avoid the summer heat. Nha Trang, Da Nang, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc, Catba, Halong, Do Son, Cua Lo remain the most popular destinations.
Speculators create room shortage
Most travel firms claim that the number of tourists this holiday will be the same or a little less than in 2009. Many plan to travel on the Hung King death anniversary holiday instead, since the two holidays are close to each other.
Vinh noted that, unlike Tet, travelers do not make plans early and many will book tours in mid-April. As the national economy has not fully recovered, the demand for travel is not high. Besides, Vinh remarked, Saigon will hold many festive activities on the 35th anniversary of Saigon liberation, so residents are still considering whether or not to travel.
For that reason, travel firms have been very surprised when famous resorts report they have no vacancies. Some hotels still have rooms, but they charge double the rate for ordinary days
The director of a travel firm in HCM City calls this a tragedy. He revealed that people called “co” in Vietnamese (storks) have booked all the rooms so that they can resell them for profit.
For example, a 3 star hotel room is about 220,000 dong per night on ordinary days and 280,000 dong on special days. Now, Vietnam travel firms now cannot book rooms at that price and offers on the Internet advertise these rooms for 500,000 dong per night.

(Source: Saigon tiep thi)

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