Saigontourist Travel Service Co. has reported a good number of foreign travelers in the January-September period at 180,000, up 11% year-on-year. The company’s deputy director Hoang Huu Loc said that it was still very difficult to talk about any estimate for the high season and the whole year.
“So far, we have some bookings for the whole year, but the majority of travelers tend to purchase tours some weeks or one month in advance. Based on current figures we can say the business is increasing at the moment but we can’t say about this year’s growth rate,” he said.
The company names France and Germany among the major source markets with good growth rates.
Normally, Vietnam travel companies who receive tourists from long-haul destinations such as Europe and North America often close the tours in November or December, but now the companies are still open to requests from customers.
Asian Trails Co., Ltd., another major travel firm in the city, is also reserved about the year’s business.
“It’s hard to assess the market. It’s changing so fast. At my company, the number of tourists still has not recovered to the same level of 2007 or 2008,” said Bui Viet Thuy Tien, director of the company.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has reported more than 3.7 million foreign visitor arrivals to the country during the January-September period, a staggering increase of 34.2% year-on-year.
Ho chi Minh city (HCMC) as the country’s biggest tourism center said it has welcomed 2.2 million international visitors in the period, up 13% over the same period of last year.
However, local travel firms have reported a lower growth rate of real foreign arrivals, not only from long-haul but also short-haul markets like Japan and South Korea.
“At my company, Singapore, Philippines and China markets take the lead in the growth rate, but the growth rate is still lower than in the good year of 2007,” said Tran Vinh Loc, director of Lac Hong Voyages.
“We are still selling packaged Vietnam tours as traditional tours to foreign travelers but we are following new trends of travel to make new products in the coming times,” Loc said.
Vietnam Travel companies have found travelers tending to travel on free and easy tours as well as budget and short-day tours.