Although the summer holiday has just started, travel firms and agents have already completed 60-70 percent of their business plan while air carriers have also increased their flights to meet high travel demand.
However, travel firms and agents are facing new difficulties: increasing tour prices because of rising fuel prices and a shortage of human resources.
Millions of tourists ready for their trips
Tran Quoc Bao, deputy director of Saigontourist Travel Company, said the company has expected to serve more than 280,000 tourists this summer.
The number of tourists will be higher as tourist demand at home and abroad is surging.
Three-to-eight-day domestic tours offered by Saigontourist are available nationwide.
The most popular ones are tours of beaches, tours of northeastern and northwestern regions, ‘green’ tours, and community tours.
"As summer is the peak season, we have prepared financial and human resources to diversify and better our services to meet market demand,” Bao said.
"It is forecast that around 160 full-package tourism products are developed to follow new trends and meet demand for relaxing tours and tours of experiencing nature, culture, history, and cuisine.”
Vietravel, a leading tour operator in the Southeast Asian country, has tours departing every day.
According to Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, vice-director of Vietravel, the market has seen not only an explosion in the amount of travel but also the unexpected behavior of consumers.
"It is surprising that most families spend money on luxury tours that meet their strict requirements for lodging and catering services,” said Hoang.
"Since late May, bookings for tours with stays in five-to-four-star hotels on Phu Quoc Island, in Da Lat City, and in northern provinces and cities like Sa Pa have been full."
A representative of Vietluxtour, a brand of Fiditour Company, said the summer travel season entered its peak time in early June.
"Tours of beaches and the Central Highlands are bestselling,” said Tran Thi Bao, marketing and communication manager of Fiditour.
"Tourists have to book tours of Phu Quoc and Con Don Islands as soon as possible to save their seats and get the best prices."
More bookings, higher prices
Because of the surging fuel prices, prices of domestic flight tickets are rising every day during the peak season.
Cheap flight tickets have run out.
A survey showed that from late June to August, air routes from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hue, Quy Nhon, and Da Lat are favored by most tourists.
Prices of flight tickets are four times higher than those two years ago.
Ngoc Huynh in Da Nang said his family of five people wants to travel to Phu Quoc in mid-July.
Because of the rising prices of flight tickets and hotel room rates in three- and four-star hotels, he has to spend VND30-35 million (US$1,289-1,504) on the trip, excluding meals.
Huynh said the lowest price of a round-trip ticket between Da Nang and Phu Quoc offered by Vietjet Air is more than VND3.7 million ($159). So, tickets for five people cost nearly VND19 million ($817).
In the same period years ago, flight tickets were only VND9-12 million ($387-516).
"I have to book tickets in the early morning or late night to get the best prices. Buy soon or prices will be higher in the next few days," Huynh said.
According to some flight ticket agents, it is hard to find promotion tickets during summer.
If any, there will be only one or two tickets but their prices will be up to millions of dong comprising taxes and costs.
Hai Hoang, who is running an air ticket agent in Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Binh District, said carriers will not lower their ticket rates because of rising fuel prices.
The ticket prices will be higher if customers book tickets close to their departure date. They should book tickets as soon as possible to get the best prices.
According to aviation firms, this summer witnessed an unprecedented increase in demand for travel by air after three years of COVID-19 hibernation.
|Groups of tourists are seen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo : Cong Trung / Tuoi Tre|
Talking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, a representative of Vietjet Air said the number of domestic flight ticket bookings this summer is higher than in the national holiday of Reunification Day (April 30).
The frequency of both domestic and international flights in mid-July is 450 flights per day, instead of an average of 200-300 flights per day as usual.
Dang Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Airlines communication department, said summer is the ‘salvation’ of the aviation sector, and the flag carrier is prepared to serve passengers.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam welcomed 365,300 visitors in the first five months, 4.5 times higher than the same period of last year, and served 48.6 million domestic tourists, with revenue expected at VND211 trillion ($9.09 billion).
Outbound market heats up again
Since early June, the outbound market has been bustling. This summer, the market is shared by both outbound and inbound tours as European countries and Northeast Asian countries are welcoming visitors again.
Outbound tours are available in more than 25 countries and territories such as the U.S., France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, England – Scotland, Australia, Dubai – Abu Dhabi, Turkey, the Maldives, Greece, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia. Such tours last four to 11 days.
Bui The Duy, executive director of Lua Viet Tourist, said the hottest tours are to Europe.
The Europe visa application schedule is always full while tours of Thailand have been also fully booked until the end of June.
The company is waiting for directions from South Korea to offer tours of the country.
Tourism sector vs. fuel prices
According to travel firms, although they have recovered, they are facing fuel price increases that in turn push up tour prices.
Duy, of Lua Viet Tourist, said the fuel price is more than VND32,000 ($1.37) per liter, making input costs 10-30 percent higher.
Additionally, supply and demand in the market is partly the reason for the tour price hike.
Prices of tours favored by many tourists are always higher than the others, such as tours of Con Dao and Phu Quoc Islands.
That is why travel firms advise customers to consider tours of less-popular destinations like Phan Thiet and Nha Trang, Duy said.
Explosion of MICE tours
The explosion of Meetings-Incentives-Conferences-Events (MICE) tours makes this year's summer travel season differ from the previous years.
In May only, Saigontourist Travel Service Company served more than 45,000 MICE guests nationwide. It is forecast that the company will service over 150,000 MICE guests this summer.
Vietravel, TST Tourist, and Vietluxtour also see the recovery of MICE tours, at least 15-20 percent higher than the same period of the previous years before the pandemic.
Guests often choose MICE tours of Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Can Tho, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc and Ha Noi, which meet infrastructure requirements.
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