Vietnam travel industry booms despite tough times

Local travelers are still packing their suitcases during the year-end tourist season despite difficult economic times, according to industry insiders.

Tour companies reported that the number of tourists booked for foreign tours has increased significantly.

Saigontourist said that up to on August 19, the number of tourists planning, to travel on National Day (September 2), had risen 14 percent over the same period last year.

Vietravel also reported a surge of 20 percent, while Fiditour’s figure showed a 22 percent rise, with roughly 3,000 travelers.

Industry insiders are calling it a seasonal increase, with 30 to 50 percent sales being offered in regional tourism markets such as Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

Tour agents said that customers often choose three to five day tours, especially to Thailand. Saigontourist said three had so far been more than 320 tourists booked to travel to Thailand from August 28 to 30, up 67 percent year-on-year. Vietravel reported roughly a 30 percent increase.

Despite accounting for an insignificant number of companies’ foreign tours, the growth rates of long distant and costly tours to the US, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the EU and Australia have reportedly increased sharply as well.

Fiditour said event though travelers booking tours worth more than USD 1,000 only represent 17 percent of the company’s total foreign tours, the growth rate for such tours is still in double digits.

The number of tourists booking costly tours through Vietravel, Saigontourist and Hoan My was also increased.

To attract tourist, travel companies said they have tried their best to cut costs.

Head of Saigontourist’s domestic tour division Quoc Bao said his company had bought nearly 500 plane tickets to save costs for customers before airlines applied additional fuel fees from August 15.

However, industry insiders said that prices of domestic tours would still increase roughly 5 to 7 percent over the same period last year due to soaring transportation costs.

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