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Vietnam Travel agents puzzled on Hanoi festival days

2010-09-25 (GMT + 7)

Vietnam Travel agents complain that they received information about a vehicle ban during the ten-day 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi too late. It makes them puzzle to organize Vietnam Tours on great festival days

Vietnam Travel agents did not have sufficient information
Though the service fees in Hanoi and neighboring localities will not increase during the great festival days celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, the number of Ho Chi Minh city (HCM City) residents planning to go to Hanoi during those days remains low, while travel companies do not want to sell Vietnam tours because of unclear information.
Nguyen Tuan Quyen, Director of Thanh Nien Xung Phong Tourism Company in Ho Chi Minh city (HCM City), said that after receiving the contract to serve thirty travelers, the company stopped selling tours to individual travelers who plan to go to Hanoi on the 1,000th anniversary of the city. The travel company fears that it cannot book more air tickets for travelers. Besides, Quyen said, he fears that overloading may lead to bad service, while bad traffic may displease clients.
Nguyen Ngoc An, a senior executive of Fiditour complained that Hanoi government agencies were too late in informing the public about the schedule of events for the great festival, so it has been very difficult for travel companies to design tours.  Travel companies could not receive early information about the traffic in Hanoi. They could not imagine how the traffic in Hanoi would be during the great festival, and they did not know which events people would be allowed to attend. Therefore, the company did not dare to accept many more clients because they feared the risks entailed.
Besides the sixty travelers who go in groups, Fiditour only booked airline tickets for another hundred travelers. The travel company began selling the tours to Hanoi in late August, but by September 21, Fiditour had 2/3 of its travelers. “There are too many difficulties. The high season for domestic tourism is over. The national air flag carrier Vietnam Airlines does not offer low cost air tickets to Vietnam travel companies for the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi. Meanwhile, a lot of HCM City residents say they are too tired of traffic jams in HCM City, and they do not want to go to Hanoi to see more traffic jams again,” An explained.
Fiditour will only stop receiving travelers for great festival tours, but An said that his company does not focus on attracting tourists for the occasion. Those travelers who want to go to Hanoi should go after the great festival. If they go after the great festival, they will be able to enjoy a big discount of two million dong, because travel companies will be able to get cheap air tickets by then.
Director of Hanoi Redtours Nguyen Cong Hoan sighed with relief because he made the right decision not to provide tours to the capital city during great festival days, despite Hanoi Redtours having a branch in HCM City.
Did festival organizers “forget” tourism?
The Hanoi Transport Department waited until September 20 to announce a plan on traffic regulation, releasing the list of streets where vehicles will be banned on festival days. Only since September 21 have travel companies begun checking the timetables for tourism groups, so as to avoid traveling on banned streets.
Nguyen Thi Thanh, a senior executive of Saigontourist Hanoi, said her company booked hotel rooms 3-4 months ago, so it cannot cancel the bookings now. Meanwhile, many hotels are located on banned streets, which means that it will be impossible to get there by car. Thanh fears that travelers will not like walking long distances to get to their hotels. If the company has to carry travelers on small vehicles, the company will have to pay additional fees.
“It is too hard to serve clients during the great festival,” Deputy Director of a travel company in HCM City said. “If the Hanoi authorities had announced the traffic regulation schedule two months ago, we would have booked hotel rooms on the streets where vehicles are not banned. We would have been able to organize trips to carry tourists to Halong to sleep. However, we cannot do anything now,” he complained.
Representatives of some Vietnam travel companies feel depressed because the great festival, which takes place only once every 1,000 years, is not the opportunity for travel companies to turn the anniversary celebrations into moneymaking events.

Source: Saigon tiep thi

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