Travel firms expand networks despite tourist slowdown
By Dao Loan - The Saigon Times Daily
A group of visitors are seen in Nha Trang City in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa. The number of travel firms in HCMC has risen by 45 firms compared to late last year - Photo: Dao Loan
HCMC – Many tour operators have still expanded their networks nationwide, especially in HCMC, in spite of the fact that the ongoing economic hardship has resulted in a slowdown in the number of tourists, especially the inbound segment.
HCMC-based Vietravel late this month will inaugurate its transaction office in District 10 and it is also going to open another office in Thu Duc District soon. Similarly, Viet Travel Media JSC early this month also put a new office into operation in the same district.
Besides, Vietravel in June this year established a representative office in San Francisco after opening the first office in Los Angeles about three years ago. The two offices now are in charge of serving tourists to and from the cities which are home to large numbers of Vietnamese-American citizens.
Over one month ago, Saigontourist Holding Company also opened the Saigontourist travel center in District 5 and new branches in the neighboring province of Dong Nai.
The travel firm in the year’s first half had inaugurated one branch, two offices and one travel center in HCMC, Hanoi and Long Xuyen City in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang. It now has been in preparation for launching a number of new offices into operation in Hanoi and the country’s south in the coming time.
Every company has its own reasons to expand the network in the context of the current economic slump but most of firms expect the new networks will make it easier for them to attract customers and promote their brands’ images as well. For instance, Saigontourist has operated the new travel center as its own facility for human resources training and customer services in the whole system.
Tran Van Long, director of Viet Travel Media, said transacting with customers is mainly performed at the main office in HCMC’s District 1 and via online services but the tour operator will still set up more offices in the city and the central region. The main job of these offices is to take care of customers as well as making the company’s brand more popular among locals, Long said.
“We hope to win the confidence of customers thanks to the popular brand and the presence of offices nationwide,” he noted.
Nguyen Minh Man, PR relation director of Vietravel, said his firm now is having ten transaction offices in HCMC dealing with individual customers. The offices with 30 staff members in Jan-Jun had contributed up to VND100 billion in sales to Vietravel, Man revealed, adding his business in the near future will continue expanding the network to remote areas in the country.
“It is better for us to build up the brand and win the hearts of local customers before the struggling economy is revived by penetrating the market from the central area to suburb regions,” Man explained.
A report of the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism states the number of local tourism companies had sharply marked up in the first six months of the year. The city has 784 firms active in the tourism industry, up 45 companies against the end of last year.
Many local travel firms have reported a sharp fall in the number of domestic tourists in the past few months.
For the inbound segment, the number of international arrivals is also on the downtrend.
Data from the General Statistics Office shows international arrivals in June was estimated at 417,400 arrivals, decreasing by 8.6% over last month and 6.6% over the same period last year. In July, the number was estimated at 466,000 arrivals, increasing by 11.6% over last month but still decreasing by 7.9% over the same period last year.
The total international arrivals in the first 7 months reached 3,832,400 representing a 10.8% growth over the same period last year.