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Tourism promotion needs a boost

03:21 | 28/09/2012

High tour prices

Summer is the peak season for tourism, and travel operators do not want to miss out on this golden chance, so they launched big promotions to attract more visitors.

In an attempt to stimulate domestic tourism, aviation and travel companies are cooperating to capitalise on this market by offering up to 49 percent discounts for domestic tours.

However, domestic tours are much more expensive than those to other destinations in Southeast Asia. Surveys by Vietravel, Hanoitourist, and Saigontourist show that only one domestic tour with a flight is booked every week compared to three to Bangkok, Thailand.

According to travel agencies, hotel room services and airfares are the two most important factors in determining whether their tours are booked. Yet travel agencies insist that they work very hard to negotiate service costs, especially hotel room rates, with their partners.

Nguyen Minh Man, head of the Vietravel communications division, points out one difficulty in negotiating with hotel managers, saying these hotels are privately owned and room rates fluctuate frequently.

Luu Duc Ke, Hanoitourist director, says travel agencies have no choice but to team up with each other to enter negotiations with hotel managers. Without introducing a common pricing policy, it will be hard for hotels and tour operators to find a common voice.

Joining hands

In the face of the current economic slowdown, consumers have tightened their belts, and the tourism industry has fallen victim to this financial crunch.

Following Vietnam Airlines’ lead, other aviation companies such as VietJet Air, Air Mekong, and Jestar Pacific have responded to the tourism stimulus programme in the northern region. Sixteen tour operators have committed to the programme to offer consumers better choices.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, vice director of Hanoi Redtour, says the tourism demand is declining because of the economic slowdown, and policies by major aviation companies to stimulate the market will help tour operators lower costs, which should fuel the domestic tourism market. Such policies could lower tour prices by as much as 35 percent.

Hoan’s view is echoed by Trinh Huu Long, director of the four-star Golden Dragon hotel in Nha Trang, who says he supports the cooperation programme, because it benefits both service providers and users.

Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tour Operators Association, confirms that the cooperation programme between aviation companies, travel agencies and hotels is a good start in the efforts to attract more visitors to the northern region and make Vietnam a friendly destination in foreigner’s eyes.

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