Short domestic tours, self-designed outbound tours popular for Tết

January 21, 2023 - 11:30
Travelling for few days during Lunar New Year holiday has been a trend among city dwellers, especially after the pandemic was under control.

Lê Hương

Travelling for a few days during the Lunar New Year holiday has been a trend among city dwellers.

Hanoian Lê Thu Hằng has organised a trip for her family every Lunar New Year holiday to southern sea areas for several years.

She often departs on the third day of the Lunar New Year after visiting her husband’s parents and her own parents’ houses on the first two days.

“My family always kicks off the new year with a holiday to the sea, where my children and their cousins can play in warm weather,” she told Việt Nam News. “That’s why I often choose Phú Quốc Island, where there are many resorts and good services.”

Tourists drive at a beach in jet skis off the coast of Phú Quốc Island. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt

Hằng's family often spends the holiday with her smaller sister’s family and they book flights and hotels two months before departure to get the best prices.

Others, who cannot afford flight tickets, may choose tours to northern mountainous areas for a few days.

“Spring is beautiful in the north with various wild flowers,” said Nguyễn Chí Thành from Đà Nẵng. “I often drive to take my family to the north during the Tết holiday. Sometimes, when we travel in a bigger group, we rent a car with a driver.”

Thành said travelling could refresh people, especially freeing women from the burden of cooking during the holiday.

Outbound tours hot again

Many other people choose to spend the new year holiday in a foreign country.

Top favourite countries are nearby nations with direct flights from Việt Nam such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and countries further away such as France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“This year, the number of Vietnamese people booking tours to foreign countries is not as high as that in 2019 (before the pandemic),” said Nguyễn Thị Thùy Linh, Director of Mlitravel Company. “The economy has been seriously hit. Before the pandemic, we often sold out outbound tours two to three months before Tết. But this year, only near Tết did people start to book tours.”

Yet it takes a longer time to get visas from embassies, thus many tourists have not been able to get visas in time, which has resulted in the smaller number of tourists in comparison with that in 2019.

More and more Vietnamese people flock to Bali. VNS Photo Nguyễn Vinh

“Anyway, Vietnamese people have started to travel overseas again, which is an encouraging sign after the pandemic,” she said.

“Customers now pay more attention to the quality of tours. They even order special tours designed for their families to explore new things while staying healthy,” she said.

“They just want a tour, in which they visit two to three destinations, spend a longer time in each location to learn about the local culture,” she said.

Linh said the number of tourists ordering specially-designed tours overseas through her company had increased by some 30 per cent.

Travel agencies and companies have united to offer the same products at the same prices.

VivuBali is in such an alliance with Golden Tour, Hanoitourist, ANZ Travel, Captour and FantaSea Travel, who have joined hands to offer tours to Bali Island in Indonesia.

“Bali is one of the hottest destinations for Vietnamese tourists,” said Phạm Tiến Dũng, Director of Golden Tour, Vice Chairman of UNESCO Travel Agencies Club. “The number of Vietnamese tourists to Bali has much increased due to favourable policies on direct flights, prices, quality of destination and different experiences to lure visitors.”

Dũng said the VivuBali alliance changes destinations, experiences and activities every six months to avoid being copied by other companies while exploiting better the beauty of the island.

After the pandemic, more Vietnamese people have flocked to Bali instead of other attractive destinations such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

According to the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Việt Nam welcomed more than 3.66 million international tourist arrivals last year, with high revenue recorded in such localities as Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Khánh Hòa, HCM City, Cần Thơ, Lâm Đồng, Đà Nẵng, Hà Nội, and Quảng Ninh.

Travel companies said tourists started booking for Tết tours, both inbound and outbound, in mid-November, and the number of tourists during the holiday is expected to rise by 30-40 per cent year-on-year.

Given this, the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said it would increase flights to 500 from January 6 to February 5, or from the 15th day of the last lunar month to the 15th of the Lunar New Year.

Tour operator Saigontourist has offered 300 products on this occasion, and expects to serve more than 20,000 holidaymakers. Vietravel has also launched 200 inbound and outbound tours for Tết.

Việt Nam aims to welcome 110 million tourist arrivals this year, of whom 8 million are foreign, and earn some VNĐ650 trillion (US$27.7 billion) in the tourism sector. VNS