Saturday, March 17 2018


More adventurous attitude needed to attract tourists

Update: June, 28/2013 - 09:24

This Week:

Passengers should eat and drink heartily before going to an airport in Viet Nam. If not, they will be faced with extortionate prices, four to five times higher than normal.

For instance, a bowl of instant noodles can cost VND60,000 (US$2.85), a hamburger VND180,000 ($8.6), a bowl of Pho VND200,000 ($9.5) or a glass of fruit juice VND100,000 ($4.7).

This is commonplace throughout the country's airports including Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat and Cam Ranh.

Passengers are not just unhappy with the rip off prices and poor quality food and drinks but also with other services at the airports, such as no seating in the check-in halls and unprofessional staff.

More than 50 per cent of passengers included in an ongoing survey being conducted by Viet Nam's Civil Aviation Administration website said that they were unsatisfied with the services being offered by the country's airports.

To improve this situation, the administration has asked all airports to strictly manage their services to prevent unreasonable prices and poor quality services.

What are your experiences with administrative procedures, services or staff at Viet Nam's airports?

What do you think about the importance of airports and their services to developing tourist services?

Can you suggest any ideas or models from airports in other countries that Viet Nam's airports could learn from?

Please reply by email to:, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can also be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 79 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi.

Replies to next week's questions must be received by no later than Thursday morning, July 4, 2013.

Last week, the Viet Nam News asked readers for their opinions on developing adventure travel and particularly helicopter tours in Viet Nam.

Some respondents acknowledged the potential for helicopter tours, while many addressed the problems faced when organising tours and making them popular with tourists.

Alice Braga, Brazilian, Ha Noi

Helicopter tours? Sounds like fun. I'm sure that getting a panoramic view of beautiful landscapes is a wonderful experience.

The biggest problem is that it's pretty expensive, so I guess only a few people would be able to afford such a luxury.

Viet Nam, with its magnificent landscapes in the south and central areas, has a great potential for adventure travel.

Certainly promoting helicopter tours, bungee jumping and rock climbing could be difficult, but it is easily possible for mountain biking and trekking to become more popular.

I've only lived in Viet Nam for a year, but I've seen a growing number of both international and domestic travellers who do not mind a little inconvenience if they go trekking.

After all, the feeling you get after you climb a high mountain and stand on the top looking down at the magnificent views is wonderful and something you never forget.

Jonah Rylander, American, HCM City

I have never taken a helicopter tour and I'm not particularly interested in taking one as I don't really like heights.

But I do think Viet Nam should promote adventure travel in general as it would be quite profitable. Perhaps TV commercials like they have in Malaysia or India would help.

In northwestern America, where I come from, helicopter tours are not so popular. Many people like adventure travel in general but few go on helicopter tours.

In fact, I have never seen any advertised. I'm sure you could find one if you wanted to and you had a lot of money, but it's not to everyone's taste.

I don't think it can be easy to organise helicopter tours. Even if we forget about the safety requirements, the weather conditions need to be seriously taken into account.

When the weather is cloudy and wet, tourists cannot really enjoy landscapes because of poor visibility, and when it's raining the tours would not be much fun.

Besides, the insurance costs for something like that would be extremely high. It's always going to be fairly expensive, once you add up the costs for fuel and maintenance as well as the pilot.

Nicole Brightman, American, Da Nang

I would love to go on a helicopter tour of Ha Long Bay. I've been there once before and was mesmerised by its beauty. It would be great to be able to look at the whole place from a distance.

Helicopter tours also offer more that just a large view, as they can take their passengers to remote spots that are almost inaccessible. If that was the case, then they would be much more appealing to tourists.

I think the most effective way to promote helicopter tours is to do just that: make them exciting and unforgettable. I know it is expensive for most people, but I have no doubt that many people would be willing to pay that little bit extra if it was really worth it.

I've seen people doing risky things in other countries, such as cliff diving, climbing high mountains and bungee jumping. I don't see why they would be afraid of taking a helicopter tour if they have the money.

Excursions like that have a hidden potential that not only Viet Nam, but also other countries that are endowed with overwhelming natural beauty should try to take more advantage of.

It is also a way to experience things differently.

Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi

Before you get carried away with elite and expensive helicopter tours, I suggest you concentrate on basic supply chain logistics. Introduce a free visa like Thailand. Ensure that bus services are safe, reliable and friendly. Be certain that every cruise boat, captain and crew that operate in popular tourist destinations like Ha Long Bay are sufficiently trained and follow basic safety guidelines.

Only then should Viet Nam graduate to a higher level, as operating sophisticated machinery in remote hazardous areas is extremely complex.

However Viet Nam should plan for a more diverse and lucrative tourism industry. I envisage cruise ships and tour companies across the region working together in a more joined up manner.

Viet Nam is well-placed for growth in this burgeoning market. If the country can satisfy the average solo backpacker, then there is a good chance that they will come back with their family in 5-10 years.

So much to see, so much to do, so little time. A hundred dollar flight might be the thrill of a lifetime, but it is also a fleeting experience. In the meantime be practical and keep your tourist industry's feet on the ground.

Hoang Giang, Vietnamese, Ha Noi

I'm interested in travelling but I haven't tried a helicopter tour yet. I'm not atually really interested in travelling by helicopter as it's very expensive and has a bad impact on the environment.

Helicopters also cause noise pollution for the travellers around you. Imagine you are sailing across a bay and a helicopter flys above you and shatters your peace and quiet?

In this case, travelling in a hot air balloon would be a much better solution. Helicopters are only really suitable for skydiving or supporting mountain climbers.

Bui Viet, Vietnamese, Daejeon

I prefer traditional types of tourism to new kinds such as helicopter tours or bungee jumping. In South Korea, the most popular type of adventure travel is to go hiking as it not only helps you to fully take in the countryside around you, it is also good for your health.

Since helicopter tours primarily depend on the landscape and geographical features of the different locations, it would be more beneficial to promote this kind of aerial tour in tourist destinations like Ha Long Bay or the valleys in the North-Western mountainous region.

Due to high noise levels, helicopter tours should be forbidden in urban/crowded tourist areas such as Ha Noi or Hoi An.

So far I have not noticed any helicopter tours being promoted in the cities that I have visited, maybe because, as I mentioned before, it is not practical to use a helicopter for tourist excursions around the major cities.

Another reason might be the cost of helicopter tours, which cost much more money than the majority of tourists can afford. — VNS

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