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TRAVEL IN BRIEF 4/5

Big summer tour discounts offered

Despite higher costs, many tour operators are offering discounts of at least 5 per cent while some who have joined hands with Vietnam Airlines are even offering 30 per cent off on summer tour packages.

Fiditourist is offering a VND3 million discount on tours to the north that take in Ha Noi, Bac Ninh, Ha Long Bay, and Tuan Chau Island. The HCM City-based operator is also offering a VND1.6 million discount on tours to the central region.

Saigontourist Travel Service Co. is offering discounts of VND345,000 to 1.5 million for tours taking in Da Lat and Phu Quoc Island.

Lien Bang Travelink has said it will cut the prices of six flight-based tours by 30 per cent, including two each to the north and centre and one each to Da Lat and Phu Quoc. Its seat-in-coach tours will cost 18 per cent less.

More prefer overseas destinations

Travel firms reported a 20-30 per cent increase in the number of tour bookings this year during the Reunification Day-May Day holidays. They said that many chose outbound tours simply because they travelling to neighbouring countries was cheaper than domestic trips.

Binh An of Dat Viet travel firm said tours to Thailand, Cambodia and China were favoured since customers believed their costs were reasonable and service quality better than that of domestic tours.

The Ha Noi-based Ratraco said most clients preferred outbound tours, with the number of bookings doubling from last year. Seventy per cent chose to go abroad because domestic tours were a bit more expensive than outbound tours, it said.

A five-day tour from Ha Noi to Nha Trang cost VND9 million while a comparable one to Thailand cost only VND8.2 million.

Hue Festival attracts 2m visitors

Some 2 million visitors came for the nine-day Festival Hue last month, a 62 per cent increase compared to the previous edition two years ago, according to provincial authorities. Almost 100,000 foreigners came, a 54 per cent increase compared to 2010, most of them from Thailand, France, Germany, and Australia. The next Hue Festival will open on April 12, 2014.

Higher prices don’t deter travellers

Popular tourist destinations across the country were flooded with holidaymakers during the Reunification Day and International Labour Day holidays, regardless of higher prices.

Da Nang received 30,000 visitors on April 29, the opening day of an annual international fireworks contest, causing tourist sites to be overrun. Visitors to Ba Na Hills had to wait hours for their turn to board cable cars to the top.

Resorts in Ham Tien, Ham Thuan Nam, and Tien Thanh in Binh Thuan Province were full, as the number of arrivals rose by 10 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Ha Long was also crowded as more than 37,000 locals and foreigners came to visit the bay on April 28 and 29, according to Quang Ninh Province tourism authorities.

Many visitors to Vung Tau complained that the prices of hotel rooms and services were dramatically up. Two days before the holidays, some two-star hotels in the southern coastal city announced rooms would cost VND1 million per night, or twice the normal rate.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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