Discounts fail to spark summer interest in slow tourist industry
HCM CITY — The HCM City Tourism Association's promotion campaign that began on June 1 offering discounts of up to 30 per cent on tours has failed to attract much interest.
|Foreign tourists shop at a souvenir shop. A tour promotion campaign has failed to attract visitors because of the economic crisis. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
The promotions are possible due to discounts offered by airlines, hotels, and tour companies, and proved very successful in 2009 and 2010.
There was no campaign last year.
Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper blamed the lukewarm reception on the economic situation, adding that tourists book transportation and hotels directly instead of buying tour packages.
Pham Duc Hoa, deputy head of Sai Gon Tourist's domestic travel department, said besides the economic crisis, many prospective customers are also wary of cheap tours after having bad experiences with them in recent times.
Nineteen travel operators are offering discounts of up to VND3 million (US$142) on packages that could otherwise cost up to VND8 million ($380). But only five of them have managed to get at least one customer, in all selling a total of 450 tours, mainly to Ha Noi and Phu Quoc.
They blamed the poor sales on Vietnam Airlines's insistence that they should book several months in advance to get the discount. But many domestic tourists prefer to book just before they leave.
Besides, the offer clashes with a similar deal offered by Viet Nam Airlines to its customers.
Tran The Dung, deputy director of The He Tre Travel Company and deputy head of the group of 19 companies in the programme, said Vietnam Airlines has been asked to permit the companies to book just 15-20 days in advance.
He also sought a better deal for his group than the airlines was offering its direct customers.
In recent years, with travel companies focusing on the home market, domestic tourism has been growing at 25-30 per cent a year.
Last year there were 30 million domestic tourists.
Vu The Binh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Tourism Association, said the market still has untapped potential considering the country has almost 90 million people.
He cited the example of China which has a population of 1.3 billion and more than 1.2 billion domestic tourists, who account for 70-80 per cent of revenues from tourism. — VNS