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Travel firms fret over higher admission fees at tourism sites

Many local tourist attractions have announced to hike prices of admission since Thua Thien-Hue Province recently decided to revise up ticket prices for entry into cultural relics sites, throwing tour operators into a difficult position.

After Thua Thien-Hue Province began the admission fee increase at cultural sites in the World Heritage-listed city of Hue, other provinces frequented by tourists have also followed suit. Late last year Quang Ninh Province imposed higher prices on tours of the World Heritage-listed Halong Bay while Hanoi City recently raised admission fees at tourist sites and water puppetry shows.

“Fees for entering Hanoi’s popular tourism sites are up by VND30,000 per person. The ticket price for water puppetry performances for international tourists are now 30% higher than before. Admission fee rises in other provinces have delivered a blow to us as tour arrangers,” said Cao Tri Dung, director of Vitours.

Ben Thanh Tourist earns little profit in the current economic situation but it has to use part of it to deal with sudden rises in admission fees at tourist attractions, said Nguyen Minh Quyen, deputy director of the HCMC-based company. Like other firms, Ben Thanh Tourist gets payments from customers in advance, so it is impossible to change prices of already-booked tours.

“A Halong Bay tour cost only VND40,000 per visitor in the past but now the price is double. Admission fees at other tourist destinations have picked up by dozens of thousands of Vietnam dong. This will be a huge sum when we add them up,” Quyen said.

Given current economic woes, travel firms will find it hard to woo local and foreign tourists if their tour prices are up. Dung of Vitours said this year would be tougher for the tourism sector as other costs such as those of transportation and catering services were on the rise as well. “Our profit is just 3-5% of a tour’s price but input costs for some package tours have edged up 5-7%, thus eating into our profit or even leading to losses,” he added.


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