Vietnam tours attracting travelers
According to Pham Thi Ngoc from Redtours, Christmas and 2011 New Year holidays this year will fall on weekends, therefore, the number of clients, who are mostly companies, organizations, office workers, foreigners living and working in Vietnam, and Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) who return to Vietnam to visit their families and relatives, will increase sharply.
Ngoc said that Hanoi Redtours expects to serve about 1000 clients who will book outbound tours and 500 clients who will book domestic and inbound tours. Hanoi Redtours thinks that the number of travelers on the Christmas and New Year season would increase by 20 percent this year in comparison with the same period last year.
The most popular destinations for domestic travelers are Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, in the north, and Hue, Ba Na, Dalat, Phu Quoc Island and Nha Trang coastal city in the central region and the south.
Those, who want to enjoy a real Christmas atmosphere, going abroad is the top choice. The most popular destinations for Vietnamese travelers are Asian countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
According to Nguyen Minh Man from Vietravel, some Vietnam travel agencies launched the special Vietnam tour for Christmas and 2011 New Year already in October. Vietravel has also launched the seasonal tours with many choices for travelers. Man thinks that the number of travelers this year will be higher by 25 percent than the last year.
“We do not accept more bookings for Christmas tours, but clients still have the opportunities to book the tours for New Year holiday and traditional Tet,” Man said.
Meanwhile, Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper has quoted Luong Duy Doanh, Deputy Director of Ngoi Sao Moi travel firm, as saying that the travel agency is still accepting bookings for all domestic and outbound tours, including the tours to Singapore. Though many travel agencies launched their marketing campaigns for the Christmas season very early, they still have not got many clients, and the number of travelers this season is thought to see sharp falls in comparison with last year.
“Our officers have booked a big quantity of air tickets already. Clients can book tours even in the last minutes before the departure time. If they are lucky, they would be able to book tours at the best prices,” Doanh said, adding that the number of tourists this season is low partially because the 2011 Tet comes earlier than in previous years. Therefore, tourists tend to take one trip for both 2011 New Year and Tet instead of two separated trips.
Tran Van Long, Director of Viet Media Travel, has confirmed that his firm has sold 70 percent of tour packages only, and it is still accepting bookings for the tours to the north and the central region, and the tours to Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Malaysia.
“The number of clients who book tours from Hanoi is lower than the number of clients from HCM City. Luckily, we can learn lessons from previous years, therefore, the number of air tickets we have booked is lower by 20 percent than the previous year,” he said
Nguyen Tuan Quyen, Director of Thanh Nien Xung Phong travel firm, said that he does not accept more bookings and now focuses on selling Tet tours.
Offering special promotions
When people are trying to tighten their belt in the context of high inflation, Vietnam travel agencies all say they are offering tours at the lowest possible fees. The fees remain unchanged in comparison with the previous year, or have increased very slightly by 5-7 percent.
Domestic tours mostly cost 4.5-7 million dong, while outbound tours to Asia $500-700. more luxurious tours, like the one to Brunei – Australia – Philippines offered by Saigontourism cost $3000. Travel agencies are committed to provide tours with high quality of restaurants, hotels, and prestigious airlines.
Ngoc from Hanoi Redtours said that as for domestic tours, the firm focuses on providing the tours with the destinations coinciding with the places listed in Vietnam Airlines’ promotion programme. The fees of the tours are very low with discounts of two million dong in comparison with normal tours.