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Jan-Apr int’l tourist arrivals grow 9% y-o-y

Foreign visitor arrivals in HCMC in April are forecast to reach 275,000, taking the total in the year to date to 1.25 million, a 9% year-on-year rise, said the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Fewer tourists have come here in the city this month, the first month of the low season, with a decline of 52,000 visits versus March but a 10% year-on-year pickup. Tourism services are projected to earn the city some VND5.8 trillion in April alone and a total of VND23 trillion in the first four months.

Several HCMC-based travel companies have reported mild growth this year and few are optimistic about business prospects in the coming months due to dwindling numbers of visitors and surging service prices.

In the tour brochures released by many companies, prices for some package tours in the winter season in late 2012 and early 2013 will move up 5-10% given higher air ticket prices, transport costs and hotel room rates.

Domestic airfares for tourists have been hiked twice, road transport fees have increased 5-10%, and hotel rooms have marked up at least 2%. Therefore, travel firms cannot keep tour prices unchanged.

The exchange rate quoted by hotels early this week was VND21,000 to the dollar, higher than at banks. However, news that the greenback would appreciate late this year has led most hotels to revise up the exchange rate to VND21,500, said a tour operator in HCMC’s District 1.

Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink, said his company informed its foreign partners of tour price hikes early this year. But strong price volatility may cause further tour price adjustments some time this year.

“The international tour price quotation practice does not allow this; prices for the whole year must be announced in advance so that foreign travel agencies can sell tours to customers. We’re calling for our partners’ sympathy for the volatile price situation in Vietnam but we’ve got no feedback from them,” said Thanh.

SGT

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