Slashing tour fees, travel firms block each other’s way

The number of travelers taking domestic tours has been increasing steadily. However, this does not mean good news for travel firms, which now try to slash the tour fees to scramble for clients.

A representative of a travel firm said, that the high inflation and the global economic crisis both have led to the high growth of domestic traveling. A lot of Vietnamese have decided to travel domestically instead of taking outbound tours.
Also, the effort by travel firms to lower the domestic tour fees has also successfully help attract travelers. China, the once favorite destination for Vietnamese travelers, is no more their favorite choice. Vietnamese people have been whispering in each other’s ears that the quality of the tours may not be the exactly the same as advertised.

Cao Thi Tuyet Lan, Managing Director of Viettours said that recently, 500 clients of her travel firm, who booked tours to China, have changed their mind and cancelled the tours to the country. Those, who want to relax and have sight seeing, have booked tours to Nha Trang sea city, Con Dao Island or Da Nang, while the travelers, who want to go shopping, have booked the tours to Thailand and Singapore instead.

Meanwhile, a group of tourists, who initially planned to go to the north and then across the border gate to China, has also decided to go to Mong Cai border gate only and canceled the trip of going shopping at the Chinese border gate market.

In the north, Nguyen Trong Anh, Director of Anhtour, has also confirmed that most of the travelers who initially planned to go to China, have shifted to book tours to the west, northwest or the Nghe An sea.

In July 2011 alone, the Dong Van Stone Plateau in Ha Giang province received 30,000 travelers. Meanwhile, Lao Cai province received 632,000 travelers just in the first six months of the year. The number of travelers to Nghe An soared to one million in July, and most of them were domestic travelers.

The situation proves to be more satisfactory in the south with the resorts and guest houses in Mui Ne always has the high occupancy rate of 90-100 percent. Soc Trang province received 1000 travelers a day sometimes.

Tran Duc Thinh, Marketing Director of TST Tourist, said that since the beginning of the year, the firm has served nearly 9000 travelers. In July and June alone, the firm organized tours for 40 groups of tourists who went to Con Dao and Phu Quoc islands, Hue, Da Nang, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Ha Long bay and Northern provinces.

Travel firms putting difficulties for each other

Though the number of tourists has been increasing steadily, the turnover has not increased accordingly. The problem is that travel firms have to slash tour fees in order to attract travelers, therefore, they cannot earn much money as expected

Travelers, who go to Binh Thuan province, would prefer traveling to Mui Ne because Mui Ne is near to the sea and there are many entertainment services. Meanwhile, Phan Thiet cannot attract many tourists, because it is farther by 20 kilometers than Mui Ne.

Thinh of TST said that his travel firm has got a lot of bookings for the tours to Mui Ne, but he has to refuse to provide services, because he foresees that the room rates would be 30-40 percent higher than the official rates announced by the resorts.

Anh of Anhtour has also said that there are many travelers booking tours, but there are no more rooms to book.

Travel firms say they have been struggling not only to scramble for hotel rooms, but also to book railway and air tickets. Director of a Hanoi-based travel firm said the railways from Hanoi to Lao Cai or to Vinh City and Dong Hoi town have always been full of passengers over the last three months. He said that his firm always has to ask to add more carriages to serve travelers, and the proposals must be made a couple of weeks before the departure time.

Other travel firms have confirmed that it is very difficult to book tickets these days, which has been hindering the development of the tours to the northwest.

While travel firms compete fiercely with each other by lowering tour fees, big guys like Vietravel, Fiditour, do not intend to try to receive more orders, but they will compete in the quality of services.

Source: DDN

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