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TRAVEL IN BRIEF 27/4

Demand rises for luxury tours

While demand for budget tours had declined, long-haul and upper end tours are selling well, despite prices nearly four times the normal.  The tour operator said it sent 320 tourists to Japan last week and would take another 400 next month.

Ben Thanh Tourist, another travel agency, has also reported stronger demand for high-end tours. It has successfully organised a nine-day tour of Britain and Scotland priced at VND95 million ($4,500) per person two weeks ago, and is now planning to promote the tour further.

The Saigontourist Travel Service Co has said it had received requests for tours of Peru, which is an unfamiliar destination that can only be arranged at expensive rates. For this long weekend that combines Liberation Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1), more customers are looking for tours to Europe, the US and Australia, but these have been sold out, the company said.

Foreign tourist arrivals on the rise

HCM City is expected to receive some 275,000 international tourists this month, bringing the total number of foreign visitors in the first four months of the year to 1.25 million, a year-on-year increase of 9 per cent, according to the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Fewer tourists have come in April, the first month of the low-season, with a decline of 52,000 compared with March, but a 10 per cent increase over the same period last year. Many HCM City-based travel agencies have announced price hikes of 5 to 10 per cent for some tours in winter of 2012 and early 2013 given higher airfares, transport costs and hotel room rates.

Tourism Malaysia offers promotion

Tourism Malaysia in Viet Nam has tied up with three local travel agency to offer special tour packages to Malaysia for couples. The first 20 couples (Vietnamese or expats living in Viet Nam) who register for the promotion with Tourism Malaysia or Travellive Magazine before June 15, 2012, will qualify for a photo shoot at major Kuala Lumpur attractions for US$800 per person – half the normal price.

The five-day package includes a stay at the five-star Golden Palm Tree resort. When the promotion ends, the romantic tour package will be available for $1,500-2,000 at travel firms Vietravel, Vietran Tour and Umove Travel.

Nation expects more cruise ships

The first quarter of 2012 was a busy time for several local travel firms that received many cruise ships in HCM City, Can Tho, Khanh Hoa, Da Nang and Quang Ninh. Cruise companies operating these cruise ships including Costa Classica, Costa Romantica, SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, Princess Daphne, Amadea, Pacific Venus, Europa and Bremen all have expressed interest in Viet Nam by signing long-term contracts or regularly organising trips to Viet Nam with an increasingly high number of travellers.

In January alone, Viet Nam received 19 cruise ships and 12 river steamers that brought in thousands of British, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Australian, Japanese and Chinese tourists.

In February, Costa Classica docked at the Ha Long Bay five times, bringing 10,000 travellers. Travel firm Saigontourist has said it was receiving a lot of high grade cruise ships and boats this month, including Europa, Spirit of Adventure, Columbus, Saga Ruby and Amadea.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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