Central Vietnam feels uneasy about tourism industry in 2013

In 2012, Hue City awarded a souvenir gift to the 2-millionth traveler to the ancient capital city. Da Nang reported it received 2.7 million tourists in 2012. The ancient town of Hoi An has been recognized as one of the 10 best tourist cities in Asia by the US journal Conde Nast Traveler. On the 2013 New Year holiday alone, Hoi An received 4.000 travelers.

However, travel firms keeps anxious about their business performance in 2013. Le Van Giang, Chair of Hoi An ancient town, said Hoi An has always been one of the most attractive destinations in the central region with travelers seen walking everywhere on the streets of the town. However, the hundreds of souvenir shops here complained that their sales are modest. Travelers tend to fasten their belt and don’t spend money on other things except the accommodations, meals and excursion tickets.

Chi Mai, Deputy General Director of Hoian Silkvillage, a craft village tourist site, said in order to attract tourists, the management board decided to pay money for the taxis to carry travelers to the site. However, most travelers go there just to visit the craft village and not many of them buy silk products.

The luxurious Japanese and Chinese styled restaurants in Hoi An town have been going through a slump, while small restaurants in the localities have been chosen by travelers, who try to cut down expenses.

Ngo Quang Vinh, Director of the Da Nang City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, also said that the income of VND67 billion from the tourism sector in 2012 was too modest, if noting that the city received a high number of 2.7 million travelers in the year. Vinh said the Da Nang is facing the sharp fall decrease in the number of tourists and tourists’ spending, even though the city has one of the most beautiful beaches in the planet.

Meanwhile, bad pieces of news have come, which has increased the travel firms’ worry about the difficulties they have to overcome in 2013. The Ministry of Finance has decided that since January 1, 2013, the fee for the entry visa would be $45 instead of $25. This means that travelers would have to pay higher for tours.

Hotel developers have been put on tenterhooks, worrying that the higher tour costs would lead to the decrease in the number of tourists. In previous years, the hot development of the tourism sector prompted investors to rush to develop hotels, especially in coastal areas. And now they suffer from the oversupply of hotel rooms in the economic recession.

Just within three years, the number of hotel rooms in Da Nang City increased from 3,000 to 10,000. It is expected that 1,500 4-5 star hotel rooms would be put into operation in 2013.

Meanwhile, Hue City complained that the strong development of Da Nang’s tourism has badly affected the tourism industry of the ancient capital city. Da Nang has developed hotel services, MICE (meeting, incentives, conference, exhibition) tourism, opened modern amusement parks and organized new spiritual tours to attract tourists in recent years.

Cao Tri Dung, Deputy General Director a travel firm, said the difficulties have led to unhealthy competition. Some well known hotels in Hue City have to offer the room rates for 4-star hotels lower than the rates for 3-star hotels in Da Nang.

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