Foreign tourists: $1,300 for one hour’s shopping
A series of 5-star vessels have docked at Vietnam’s ports over the last days, bringing many foreign travellers from different countries of the world. Vietnamese travel firms are trying to serve the travellers’ demand for… spending money.
Demand for spending money needs to be satisfied.
At 10.45 am on March 17, a 52-seat bus, carrying 30 tourists who arrived in Vietnam on the 5-star vessel Silversea, stopped in front of Rex Hotel in district 1, HCM City. The tourists began walking about in groups in HCM City streets. The tour guide said that the tourists had one free hour to go shopping.
We, the reporters of this story, decided to make the acquaintance of the two most senior travellers, Jack and Lesley, an Australian couple. Walking briskly towards the Tax Trade Centre, they seemed to be very strong, and nobody would think they were nearly 70 and had just finished a 10-day sea voyage.
Jack was open when he discovered that we were reporters. “This is the first time we’ve been to Vietnam, and I want to give a gift to my wife to keep our memory of this trip”.
After wandering the cosmetics and watch shops, the couple decided to enter the jewellery shop. After some thought, Jack bought a ring inlayed with gemstones worth $900.
The couple went to the second floor of the Tax Free Trade Centre and bought Trung Nguyen coffee boxes, Nha Be clothes and many other products.
After one hour of shopping, the total spending of the two travellers had reached $1,300. Son, a tour guide said that the tourists spend more money if they go separately, not in group tours.
In order to satisfy the tourists’ demand for spending money, Tan Hong Tourist Company, the receiver of Silversea tries to organise different entertainment programmes, including a ‘gala dinner’ programme for 200 VIP guests on the evening of March 18.
Phan Xuan Hong, Tourist Adviser to Tan Hong Company said that the total cost of the party was $20,000.
Mr Hung, a tour guide in HCM City related the story of an American millionaire coming to Nha Trang city on the ship Pacific Princess last Tet holiday who drew the attention of many people with her special outfit. A tour guide said that the suit must have cost at least $5,000. It seems that the millionaire had a habit of collecting traditional clothes of the countries she has been to. She has a collection of 1,000 traditional outfits, including a Vietnamese ao dai (long dress).
How to make Vietnam a place worthy of spending money?
A cruise lasts 14-20 days on average. Sometimes it lasts a whole month. The travellers are all old aged, retired and have a lot of money to spend on satisfying their habits and tastes.
Mr Anh related a story of an Austrian millionaire who arrived in Ha Long Bay two weeks ago. The millionaire spent $2,000 to hire a safe car to take her to the best restaurants in Hanoi to enjoy Vietnamese traditional meals.
The travel firm finally found a newly imported BMW to carry the millionaire to Hanoi, where she could taste bun cha (noodles and grilled meat), and nem nuong (grilled spring rolls).
Mr Anh said that with a long coast and many ports able to receive large ships, Vietnam has become one of the most attractive destinations in the world. However, Vietnam’s tourism industry has not been successful in creating favourable conditions for the tourists to spend money. Vietnamese travel firms cannot make the travellers stay longer in Vietnam, though the tourists really want to.
Mr Anh said that Vietnamese firms are not familiar with providing logistical services to high-grade tourism. A Singapore-based company is carrying out all the logistical work, serving the vessels docking at Saigon ports. As such, goods are bought from Vietnam, but the suppliers are foreigners.
(Source: Tuoi tre)