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TRAVEL IN BRIEF 8/6

Travel firms launch economy tours 

While increasing airfares and other fees and the economic difficulty have resulted in a sharp fall in the number of travellers, many HCM City travel firms have decided to design budget tours to retain clients. A manager of a firm in District 1 said road and air tour prices have increased by 15-25 per cent. Hikes have also reported in room rates and food and service costs.

A two-day tour of Phan Thiet now costs VND970,000 (US$450), while a trip to Vung Tau is VND700,000 and to Hue – Quang Binh – Da Nang VND5.2-5.7 million. A six-day tour to Ha Noi costs VND10 million.

Tran The Dung, deputy director of The He Tre Travel Company, said most people in HCM City now choose two – to three-day tours to Phan Thiet, Ninh Chu, and Vung Tau to save cost. In the past, in summer, his firm received a lot of orders from companies and others booking long tours to Hue or Ha Noi, but regular clients have decided not to travel this year, or chosen short tours to Phan Thiet or Vung Tau, he said.

Many other travellers have simply chosen outbound tours instead of domestic tours because they are getting cheaper. It only costs US$200 to travel to Cambodia and $350-380 to visit Thailand.

HCM City hotels report room rates down 

Many HCM City hotels are complaining that they are getting few customers these days.

Illustrative image. (Photo: Internet)

In the first week of last month the occupancy rates at luxury hotels dropped by 10-20 per cent. One hotel on Dong Khoi Street reported an occupancy rate of just 50 – 60 per cent.

Hotels located further from the central area have even fewer clients. A five-star hotel in District 5 only had a 36 per cent occupancy rate in the first quarter of this year, according to a survey done by the Sai Gon Economic Times.

Vien Dong hotel on Pham Ngu Lao Street reported a rate of 50 per cent, which is lower than the 70 per cent it had last year.

Other hotels have also slashed their room rates. Majestic now quotes a rate of US$145 a night instead of $170. Some high-grade hotels on Dong Khoi Street have slashed their rates from $198 to $163.

Da Nang advertises in Hong Kong

Da Nang City will promote tourism at the seventh MICE Travel Expo at Hong Kong’s Convention&Exhibition Centre from June 14-17. The MICE Travel Expo (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) will host travel agencies and airlines from 55 countries and territories.

The possibility of a direct flight from Da Nang to Hong Kong will also be discussed. Da Nang City has welcomed one million tourists this year, of whom 313,000 were foreigners.

Tour company shows off Viet Nam

The HCM City-based Asian Trails Co, Ltd is joining hands with foreign partners to bring 12 Latin American travel agencies to Viet Nam in September for a familiarisation trip.

Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails, said 12 tour operators from Brazil, Chile and Argentina would travel around Viet Nam for eight days to study travel services, tourist sites, hotels, and entertainment sites.

Asian Trails is also co-operating with Vietnam Airlines to organise a tour for 10 French travel agencies this month.

Off-road tours become popular 

Four Australian tourists are among hundreds of riders in the last month or so to make a motorcycle tour along the Ho Chi Minh Trail from Ha Noi to Hoi An City. Off-road Viet Nam tour operator Tuan Anh said the route, which winded through eight cities and provinces for 1,460km, was mostly smooth riding. Last month, other tours attracted 121 riders trailing off-road routes in the northwest mountainous provinces of Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh and Lao Cai.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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