The nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, turned out to be a golden opportunity for local travel agencies and operators of entertainment and tourism parks to make money in the new season.
Numerous large tour operators in Ho Chi Minh City such as Ben Thanh Tourist, Fiditourist, Vietravel, Saigontourist and Lien Bang Travelink reported good performance during the Tet holiday for both outbound and inbound tourism segments.
This year the Vietnamese government had announced the Tet holiday schedule much earlier, prompting people to rush to book tours, with travel agencies having less time to prepare for a variety of interesting tours.
More people want to take long distance tours, since this year the Tet holidays will be for 9 long days. Some local travel agents report that the number of inbound and outbound tours registered during Tet have increased by 30 percent compared to the same period last year.
Preliminary statistics show that companies of Vietnam tour have a “bumper crop” this Tet, despite the economic difficulties and high inflation. The number of travelers booking tours for Tet holiday has increased greatly.
Travel demand up, turnover up
The recent reports all have pointed out that 2011 was a prosperous year for travel firms, especially the ones in the south. Despite the economic difficulties, which forced people to fasten their belt, people still spent part of their income on traveling and relaxing.
The People’s Committee of Quang Ninh Province has ordered that tour boats operating on Halong Bay be painted white in order to renew their image following the bay’s designation as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Most boat operators, however, are opposed to the decision.
Under the provincial order, 500 tour boats operating on the bay must be repainted white and fit with a brown sail (if the boat uses a sail) before April 30. Dragon boats can be painted with a dragon head in traditional colours. Boats which fail to comply will lose their permission to operate on Halong Bay.
The enterprises operating in the tourism sector have proposed government agencies to allow them to quote the prices of products and services in popular foreign currencies such as Euro or US dollars, instead of Vietnam dong, in order to make it easier to understand for foreign travelers.
Under the current regulations, Vietnam dong is the only currency which can be used in the transactions in the Vietnamese territory, while the prices of services and products also must be quoted in Vietnam dong.
Travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City have been kept busy booking foreign tours as residents seek to take advantage of a nine-day Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
The number of bookings for foreign tours offered by major companies like Saigontourist, Vietravel and Fiditour have increased between 20 and 30 per cent compared with last year’s Tet season.
Most customers are buying tours to Asian countries and to Europe, the companies say.
Mr. Peter Grove and Mrs. Kate Goswell (from UK), arriving on Vietnam Airlines flight 120, became the first foreign tourists to step foot in Vietnam on the first day of 2012.
They were among 287 other tourists from Germany and 256 from UK who were welcomed at Tan Son Nhat airport in a ceremony organized by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.