|2009 Tet will be a difficult business season for travel firms|
|10:18' 07/01/2009 (GMT+7)|
VietNamNet Bridge – Travel firms have still not received as many bookings for Tet tours as they expected, though Tet will come in just 20 days.
Tour fees unchanged
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has recently called on hotels to slash hotel room rates by 30-50% in order to attract more travelers. However, travel firms said that they have not heard anything about room rate decrease, while airlines have not made any moves to reduce airfares.
Luong Cong Minh, Deputy Head of Business Division under Hoa Binh Tourism Company, said that the hotel room rates, airfares and tickets for tourism sites have not seen any decreases, which has made travel firms unable to slash tour fees.
Minh said that travel firms really wants to slash tour fees to stimulate demand for traveling during Tet days, but they still have to maintain the current tour fees as the hotel room rate, which makes up 40-50% of tour fee, remains unchanged.
According to Truong Minh Quyen, Deputy Director of Ben Thanh Tourist, travel firms will certainly incur loss if they reduce tour fees as the VAT rate for transport service has been raised from 5% to 10%. Therefore, Quyen said, most of domestic tour fees, mainly to the central region, the north, and outbound tours to
Number of travelers down
Though the tour fees have not increased for the high travel season, the number of travelers who have booked tours has seen a 20-30% decrease over the previous Tet. The difficult year in 2008, with high inflation and economic growth slowdown, have forced a lot of people to cut down expenses for traveling.
Travel firms, which cannot slash tour fees, now have to re-design tours to make them more attractive and affordable.
Doan Thi Thanh Tra, Head of the Marketing Division under Saigontourist, said that the firm has been designing tours with reasonable fees by choosing flights with air carriers offering low airfares, cutting luxury services and finical meals. Meanwhile, tour guides will not serve during the tours, but only serve at the departure and destination points.
Quyen said that Ben Thanh Tourist is now targeting more popular travelers instead of high-class clients. Three-star hotels have been introduced instead of 5-star hotels, which have been accepted by many travelers.
Quyen added that 2009 will still be a difficult year for the national economy; therefore, targeting popular clients proves to be the right way for the company.
New wine in the old decanter
Travel firms said that Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc island are always the top choices of young clients. Meanwhile, elder travelers and Viet Kieu prefer two tours to the north and central regions.
For example, travelers to Phan Thiet City will have a mud-bath at Mui Ne Mineral Mud Centre. As for the tours to traditional festivals, the travel firm will organize Gala Night, which gathers travelers, their relatives and their newly-acquainted friends to enjoy Tet.
Travel firms are all trying to offer attractive tours at reasonable fees in order to retain travelers. However, it is clear that 2009 Tet will be a hard business season for Vietnamese travel firms.
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