Demand too weak, travel firms have to sell Tet tours at a loss

Sharp reductions for outbound tours

The 9-day long Tet holiday brought a high hope to travel firms that the travel demand would be high this year. Therefore, a lot of travel firms designed higher numbers of tours, while booking more air tickets with airlines and more hotel rooms with accommodation service providers.

However, the demand turns out to be very weak, which has forced travel firms to slash tour fees sharply in an effort to break even with the Tet tours.

Tran Anh Giang from Truyen thong Du Lich Viet said his travel firm has opened for sale the tours to three South East Asian countries and China with the big discounts of VND1.9-4.2 million per traveler on

The discounts of VND1.6-4 million dong has been offered by Vietravel to the groups booking tours to six South East Asian countries with the departures from the 5th of January of the new lunar year.

Vietran Tours has just offered the discount rate of 1 million dong per traveler to Hong Kong, Guang Zhou and Shen Zhen, applied for those groups of five or more travelers. The travel firm said the tour would be opened for sale until January 31, which means that a lot of seats are still available.

Ngoi Sao Moi has offered the price discount of VND200,000-500,000 dong to every traveler who comes to make direct booking for the six Tet tours to China, Singapore, Malaysia by both land and by air.

The director of a travel firm in Hanoi admitted that he can make a modest profit of VND500,000-800,000 from every traveler to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and China who travel by air.

Other travel firms have confirmed that they have to sell tours at a loss because they have booked air tickets in big quantities placed big orders with other service providers in advanced, which means that they would have to pay heavy fines if they cannot arrange enough travelers

Domestic tours selling very slowly

The demand for domestic tours is so low that even the most attractive tours also have been left unsold. The tours from HCM City to Con Dao island or Phu Quoc Island were always sold out nearly one month before the departure day. However, they seem to be no attractive more. Some travel firms now still sell tours to the islands with the departures on some specific days, mostly because of the higher airfares and hotel room rates.

Tran Anh Giang said his firm is now selling the tours to Phu Quoc to depart on the first day of the new lunar year with the discount rate of VND500,000-900,000 per traveler. Besides, seats are still available in the tours to north and Nha Trang.

However, many travelers do not intend to book tours right now, believing that the tour fees would be lowered further in the context of the low demand. However, Giang said only several seats have been left, and the sale promotion programs would end in some days.

Small travel firms now also rival with the bigger ones to attract tourists by offering higher commissions to agents. Bui Tuyet Lan, director of a travel company, has revealed that some travel firms offered the attractive commission of up to $60 per traveler.