Thai Airways International reported that, from June 1, 2010, the air carrier will provide flights from Vietnam to Johannesburg to carry Vietnamese soccer fans to South Africa to watch the World Cup championship 2010.
From Ho Chi Minh city(HCM City) and Hanoi, passengers will transit in Bangkok before flying on to South Africa. The economy return air ticket costs $501 per passenger, not including tax and surcharges. Thai Airways will provide four flights a week from Bangkok on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Other foreign airlines including Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines are also providing flights from Vietnam to South Africa with transit points in Hong Kong, Doha (Qatar) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
Large travel firms have also launched tours to South Africa, but very few travelers have booked with them.
Complicated procedures and high tour fees are keeping travelers away. A tour to South Africa runs between 70 million and 90 million dong, double that of a European tour.
According to Nguyen Minh Man from Vietravel HCM City, some 100 travelers have tentatively registered to go to South Africa, but they may change their minds.
“Unlike other travelers, soccer fans always decide based on the atmosphere of the football matches,” Man noted.
Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai from Fiditour reported that two groups of travelers have booked tours to South Africa (more than 70 people) and will depart in mid-June and early July.
Mai added that now it is still easy to purchase match tickets, but prices will riseas the World Cup dates near. Vietnamese travelers will be able to watch some football matches, but it will be very difficult to get tickets for the final round and the tickets are very expensive.
Mai, who has returned from South Africa, said that everything is very expensive and goods are scarce.
Nguyen Minh Quyen, Deputy Director of Thanh Nien Xung Phong Travel Firm, explained that his firm only provides tours to groups, not individuals. He confirmed that only one group has expressed their desire to go, but they have not made a final decision.
“If they agree, we must sign contracts and collect the money at once, because it is very risky to organize such tours,” Quyen maintained.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Hanoi Redtours, Nguyen Cong Hoan, revealed that the company does not provide tours to South Africa for the World Cup, claiming that overly high tour fees will keep clients away.