HA NOI – Domestic tourism figures are continuing to drop despite tourism companies launching a number of sales promotions to mark the upcoming National Day (September 2) holiday during a time of weak travel demand.
|The Forbidden City in Hue might receive fewer tourists than in previous years during the upcoming holiday weekend. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Duc
Vietravel, a well-known tourism company, reported that the number of travellers purchasing its tours for the upcoming holiday had not increased against the corresponding period last year, serving only 2,000 domestic tourists and 2,500 foreign travellers. In an effort to attract more customers, the company has reduced the cost of many of its packages, including a tour of the northern provinces by VND2.7 milllion (US$129), a tour of the central region by VND2.5 million ($119), and a five-day tour of Nha Trang-Phu Yen by VND1.1 million ($52).
Meanwhile, Saigontourist is offering discounts of up to 30 per cent for families wanting to visit Da Nang, Hue, Ha Noi, Ninh Binh, Ha Long and Sa Pa, while Travelink has slashed the prices of many of its domestic and outbound tours by as much as 30 per cent.
However, due to the current economic difficulties, customers have tightened their belts, leading to a decrease of 20 to 30 per cent in tourist numbers compared to last year's holiday figures, admitted director of the HCM City-based Lua Viet travel company Nguyen Van My.
Of the same opinion was director of Viet Media Travel Corporation Tran Van Long who attributed the weak demand partly to the hike in transport costs and ticket prices at tourist destinations.
Recently, Fiditour announced that some tourism sites had increased their fees, including a visit to Uot Cave at Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park in central Quang Binh Province, which doubled from it's original price of VND40,000 per person.
Tran Ngoc An, head of Fiditour's inbound division, said that transport firms had raised their prices in tandem with the increase of petrol, but kept their silent when the cost of petrol subsequently decreased.
Long, of Viet Media Travel, added, due to the gloomy situation, travel agencies were not willing to design new tours, instead offering existing tours at lower rates. He estimated that the number of visitors buying tours at his company had plunged by 50 per cent.
Lai Huu Phuong, director of Ben Thanh Tourist Service Company, said that, despite input, costs had continuously increased. Ben Thanh Tourist, as well as other travel firms, have tried to stabilise tour fees or cut prices in order to woo customers, but promotional campaigns had not helped much.
Nguyen Thi Khanh, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City Tourism Association, said that tourist firms were worried about the poor demand, while a stimulus programme, jointly launched by the association, Viet Nam Airlines and VietjetAir, had not yet created strong motivation in the market as expected.
Le Kim Dung, of a Dong Da District-based media company in Ha Noi, said that she had already spent the summer holidays with her family in June, and that from now to the year's end, she would save money to prepare for the next Lunar New Year Festival as she predicts that her year-end bonus will be less than last year's.
Meanwhile, Duong Mai Lan, head of Vietravel Ha Noi's Market Research and Development Department, said that beach tours were not attractive to travellers because the National Day holiday fell during the storm season.
With only three days off, people faced difficulties managing work while choosing tours, added Dung, before suggesting that relaxing at home might be their best option. — VNS