Lunar New Year tours unexpectedly enjoy large custom

Travel firms in the north have reported the increase of 10-15 percent on average in the number of travelers booking Tet tours this year. Meanwhile, just some weeks ago, they noted the sharp fall in the number of travelers and predicted a “Tet tourism crop failure.”

Big travel firms like Vietravel have reported more impressive growth. Duong Mai Lan, Head of the Planning and Marketing Division of Vietravel Hanoi, has reported the 35 percent growth rate so far.

Ta Thi Tu Uyen, a senior executive of Vietravel said many travel firms decided to close the tours sooner than expected for fear about the sharp fall in the number of travelers in the context of the economic recession. However, Vietravel has received more and more bookings in recent days, which showed that the demand is not low as previously thought.

Vietravel, therefore, has decided to open more tours with thousands of seats available to satisfy the increasing demand from travelers.

However, small firms cannot follow the move, because unlike Vietravel, they do not have the capability of negotiating with partners – the service providers – in the last minutes. It’s now nearly impossible to negotiate with airlines, restaurants and hotels on the services to be provided for newly designed tours.

Anh from Vietravel has also reported the sharp rise in the number of inbound tourists to Vietnam, the majority of whom are overseas Vietnamese and university students who return to Vietnam to celebrate Tet. The tourists make up a high percentage of Vietravel’s travelers in the central region and the west of the southern region.

The inbound tours had been fully booked by mid-January. However, more tours by land and by air have been provided to satisfy the sharp increase in the number of travelers.

Though Vietnamese have fastened their belt, outbound tours offered by travel firms still have been fully booked. Vietravel, for example, organizes 8-9 tours to the US every day.

Meanwhile, Hanoitourist said the most wanted tours are the ones to the nearby markets, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong. The tours have become cheaper than ever with the big tourism promotion campaigns run by the host countries and local travel firms. Travelers not only can enjoy low airfares, but also low hotel room rates and can go shopping on sales promotion days.

Unlike the travelers in other countries, Vietnamese have the habit of booking tours just several days before the departure time instead of booking tours many months in advance.

Ha, an office worker, said she has booked a tour to Malaysia for her great family. At first, Ha decided to celebrate Tet in Hanoi with family members. However, later, after realizing that there were a lot of attractive programs with high discount rates, she has changed her mind.

“The Tet holiday is too long, and we would feel bored if we stayed at home. It’d be better to take full advantage of the nine-day long holiday,” she said.