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Hard times for Russians

Update: January, 10/2015 - 12:00

Russians love leaving their cold country to come on holiday to Viet Nam; especially to the country's sunny beaches.

However, things are not going well in Russia.

This has meant that many Russians can no longer afford to come to Viet Nam on holiday as much as they could in the past.

Russians visitors arrive at the Cam Ranh International Airport.
Russians visitors arrive at the Cam Ranh International Airport. -Photo camranh.com.vn

KHANH HOA (VNS)— The number of Russian tourists arriving in Viet Nam is expected to decline at the beginning of 2015, due to the devaluation of the ruble in Russia.

On December 16, the Russian central bank raised its key interest rate to 17 per cent from 10.5 per cent and the ruble fell beyond 60 to the dollar.

These economic difficulties have affected the spending plans of the Russian people, and it is expected that their travel budgets will be the first to be cut.

Nguyen Van Thanh, steering deputy chairman of the Khanh Hoa Tourism Association, told Biz Hub that Russia's economic downturn had not affected the province's tourism industry yet, but he predicted next year would be a difficult time for travel firms.

"The annual period between November and April is the peak season for Russian visitors coming to Viet Nam. This year's season may not be much affected, but we have to prepare for the following season," said Thanh.

Meanwhile, during his annual press conference on December 18 in Moscow, Russia's President Vladimir Putin assured Russians that the economic downturn would last only two years, at most.

Some travel firms in central Khanh Hoa Province told local media that the number of Russian tourists to Viet Nam in December had not decreased, but a number of tours had been cancelled.

Nguyen Duc Tan, managing director of Anex Tour Viet Nam, told vnexpress.net that, as of December, daily bookings had decreased from 200 to 70-80 per day, a reduction of 60 per cent.

Tan said his company set a target of 120,000 visitors from Russia this year, a four-time increase compared with last year, but now he believed it would be difficult to reach this target.

Tan explained that a 4-star hotel room in Nha Trang cost a Russian couple US$800, or 28,000 rubles, last year. But now the price climbed to 49,000 rubles due to the devaluation.

"If the number of Russian visitors goes down, travel firms will experience many difficulties. We have to hire an airplane at the same cost, while there are fewer passengers. In order to lure enough passengers, we then have to offer a 50 per cent discount per seat," said Tan.

He also said that the company had discussed discounting the costs of rooms with local hotels and resorts. Following discussions, large hotels agreed to a discount of 25-30 per cent, while smaller hotels might offer 15 per cent reductions.

"However, tourist agencies still face difficulties if Russians visitors cancel their tours," Tan said.

He added that visitors often spend two-thirds of their budget for airlines tickets and one-third for hotels. In Thailand, hotels support tourist agencies by reducing room rates from $200 to $70-80 per room, when the country tried to lure visitors during the difficult political crisis.

"If Viet Nam could do the same, the travel firms may escape difficulties," said Tan.

Further, the Turkey-based travel firm Pegas Touristik told Khanh Hoa News Online that the company had to offer a 50 per cent discount for those purchasing a recent Vietnamese tour, however, the situation had not shown positive signs.

Pegas Touristik has begun a trend, bringing Russian tourists to Nha Trang, with most visitors coming from the Russian Far East.

Statistics from the Khanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism show that the number of Russian visitors to the province in the first 11 months this year was 189,234, an increase of 58.6 per cent over the same period last year.

A direct flight between Moscow and Cam Ranh International Airport was recently opened to meet the demand of Russian tourists seeking to spend their holidays in the sunny beaches of Nha Trang.

At present, Russian tourists are being taken to Khanh Hoa by travel firms, including Pegas Touristik, Focus Travel, Annex Viet Nam and Nhat Minh International Tourism Co., Ltd.

The Province seeks to attract 250,000 Russian tourists to Khanh Hoa this year, which accounted for one-third of the province's foreign guests.

Besides the traditional destinations of Nha Trang, southern Binh Thuan's Mui Ne and Phu Quoc island has also attracted a large number of Russian tourists.

Phu Quoc is the only tourist site to exempt visas for Russians coming for up to 30 days, while other provinces grant visa exemptions for those coming for only 15 days.

Travel firms in these two areas are also concerned about how the situation in Russia might affect their revenues.

Thanh said that the most important factor for the tourism sector was to provide high-quality products.

"The travel agencies and policy makers should hold their hands, and we [the association] will always act as a bridge to mobilize the strength of local tourism," said Thanh.

Nha Trang has entered its peak season, as its long beaches and warm weather welcome visitors from around the world. — VNS

GLOSSARY

The number of Russian tourists arriving in Viet Nam is expected to decline at the beginning of 2015, due to the devaluation of the ruble in Russia.

 

If the number of Russian tourists decline, it goes down.

 

When the value of a country's money goes down against the value of other countries' money, devaluation takes place.

 

Ruble is the name of the money used in Russia.

On December 16, the Russian central bank raised its key interest rate to 17 per cent from 10.5 per cent and the ruble fell beyond 60 to the dollar.

When people borrow money, they must pay the bank that lends it to them a certain percentage of that loan. This is called the interest rate.

These economic difficulties have affected the spending plans of the Russian people, and it is expected that their travel budgets will be the first to be cut.

A budget is a plan on how to spend your money. A travel budget is such a plan that involves money used to go travelling.

When a budget is cut, there is less money available to spend in the plan.

Nguyen Van Thanh, steering deputy chairman of the Khanh Hoa Tourism Association, told Biz Hub that Russia's economic downturn had not affected the province's tourism industry yet, but he predicted next year would be a difficult time for travel firms.

A steering deputy chairman is someone in a deputy chairman position whose job also involves giving guidance.

When a country has an economic downturn, business goes slower than usual.

To predict means to say what you think will happen in the future.

"The annual period between November and April is the peak season for Russian visitors coming to Viet Nam."

Annual means every year.

The peak season for Russians coming to Viet Nam is the time of year when most visitors come from that country.

Meanwhile, during his annual press conference on December 18 in Moscow, Russia's President Vladimir Putin assured Russians that the economic downturn would last only two years, at most.

A press conference is a meeting to which journalists are invited to hear an announcement and to ask questions around the topic of that announcement and other things.

Nguyen Duc Tan, managing director of Anex Tour Viet Nam, told vnexpress.net that, as of December, daily bookings had decreased from 200 to 70-80 per day, a reduction of 60 per cent.

A reduction means a difference that is lower.

Tan said his company set a target of 120,000 visitors from Russia this year, a four-time increase compared with last year, but now he believed it would be difficult to reach this target.

A target is something you aim for, whether it is something you wish to shoot using a rifle or whether it is to achieve a certain amount of business, such as attracting 120,000 tourists from Russia.

"In order to lure enough passengers, we then have to offer a 50 per cent discount per seat," said Tan.

To lure means to attract people by offering them something.

A discount is a cheaper price.

Further, the Turkey-based travel firm Pegas Touristik told Khanh Hoa News Online that the company had to offer a 50 per cent discount for those purchasing a recent Vietnamese tour, however, the situation had not shown positive signs.

Purchasing means buying.

Pegas Touristik has begun a trend, bringing Russian tourists to Nha Trang, with most visitors coming from the Russian Far East.

A trend is a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Rather like a fashion.

Statistics from the Khanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism show that the number of Russian visitors to the province in the first 11 months this year was 189,234, an increase of 58.6 per cent over the same period last year.

Statistics are figures that have been collected as records.

A direct flight between Moscow and Cam Ranh International Airport was recently opened to meet the demand of Russian tourists seeking to spend their holidays in the sunny beaches of Nha Trang.

A direct flight is one straight from the airport of departure to the airport that is the destination. It does not stop anywhere in between.

The demand of Russian tourists is the situation that has arisen as a result of Russians wanting to come on holiday to Viet Nam.

Phu Quoc is the only tourist site to exempt visas for Russians coming for up to 30 days, while other provinces grant visa exemptions for those coming for only 15 days.

To visit another country, one needs a passport. However, some countries want to be careful about people who come to visit from certain others countries and they ask for special permission, which is given when they issue what is called a visa. If special visa exemptions are granted, then the government, of Viet Nam in this case, does not require people from Russia to seek this special permission.

Travel firms in these two areas are also concerned about how the situation in Russia might affect their revenues.

Revenue is money that is earned.

"The travel agencies and policy makers should hold their hands, and we [the association] will always act as a bridge to mobilize the strength of local tourism," said Thanh.

To mobilize means to make something movable. In this case, it means to encourage all people who work in tourism to work hard and have good ideas to make local tourism strong.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

1.      A country that is partly in Asia, partly in Europe where the travel firm Pegas Touristik is based.

2.      Vladimir Putin's job in Russia.

3.      The name of the money used in Russia.

4.      A city in Russia.

5.      Another word for buying.

 

 

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2015







































1. Turkey; 2. President; 3. Ruble; 4. Moscow; 5. Purchasing.

 

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