Vietnamese travellers lack advance planning
Many travel agents in Vietnam have had to refuse customer requests to book tours to Singapore, as they cannot book accommodation or air tickets.
Ms Nguyen Thi Huyen, of Vietran Tour’s Outbound Section said, the number of Vietnamese customers booking tours to Thailand and Singapore in July has increased to double, or three times that of previous months. However, there are difficulties making reservations for hotel rooms in Singapore nowadays. Instead of booking hotels close to the centre, Vietran Tours has had to book rooms in hotels further out.
Vietran has also refused booking requests sent to the company too close to departure dates. “It’s a difficult situation and we have had many long term customers complain and use other travel agents. The rising demand is unpredictable,” Huyen added.
The situation is no different for Hanoi Tourist. The company reported that they have had to postpone several tours to Singapore. “The number of customers wishing to travel to Singapore has doubled in comparison to June,” said one Hanoi Tourist source.
Accommodation in Singapore has been booked solid. Double rooms in guesthouses or smaller hotels for backpackers have also been fully booked. Some hotels only have dorm rooms available.
Air tickets are another problem for travel agents. The prices of air tickets to Singapore at present are high, as no promotions have been offered. A return ticket on Tiger Airlines is US$201, while the listed price for August is only US$135.
It is also very hard to buy air tickets on Vietnam Airlines and Thai Airways flights from Hanoi to Thailand, especially when travel agents want to buy a large number of tickets.
Because demand is rising, there are problems with hotel and air ticket bookings, and many customers have had to postpone their trips. Ms Thu Ha, from Cau Giay, Hanoi said she had booked a tour to go to Singapore at the beginning of July, but would not depart until the end of the month after several delays.
“I planned for the trip long time ago. I had to arrange my work, asking permission to take a holiday, but I could not go when I had planned. The travel agent said the reason was that they could not book for hotel rooms as many travellers wanted to go to Singapore this month,” Ha complained.
Vietnamese travellers simply need to understand that booking tours in advance is standard practice for international travel. Booking two weeks in advance is simply not planning ahead.
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