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Outbound tourists increase by 30% over holidays
By Dao Loan - The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Dec 16, 2009,00:16 (GMT+7)

Outbound tourists increase by 30% over holidays

By Dao Loan - The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – Despite the economic downturn, the number of Vietnamese willing to pay for outbound tours over the New Year and Lunar New Year holidays is up by 20%-30%. Some tour operators in HCMC have booked outbound tours for New Year 2010 and are receiving tourists for Lunar New Year, or Tet.

According to the travel firms, given the higher cost of air tickets and services during the holidays, outbound tour Vị trí đặt quảng cáoprices are 20%-35% higher year-on-year.

This has been a challenging year for the travel industry, so the increase in outbound tourists is a surprise for tour operators. They once thought the economic downturn and U.S. dollar rate would make people think twice before traveling abroad.

Perfect Tour Travel Co. Ltd. has received bookings for 1,000 tourists, many of them to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Australia and nearly 200 to the U.S.

At Fiditourist, the number of outbound tourists booked for tours during the Lunar New Year is up by over 30% compared to last year. Tours from the first to the fifth day of the Lunar New Year are sold out. The tour operator will arrange tours for local people to celebrate the holiday every day in the period.

At Saigontourist Travel Service Co., around 2,500 Vietnamese have booked outbound tours for New Year, up by 500 compared to last year. Many of the guests have booked tours to neighboring countries. The company is selling tours to South Korea and Singapore with other tours already sold out.

Saigontourist is receiving guests for the Tet holiday. “We don’t have a final number yet but bookings have increased by around 30% at the head office,” said Lam Tu Khoi, assistant manager of the outbound department of the company.

Along with the head office, Saigontourist has offices or branches in HCMC’s District 5, Hanoi and Can Tho.

According to tour operators, a lack of international air tickets was the main reason travel firms sold out tours sooner than expected. Such companies are asking for more tickets from airlines to continue selling tours to local people.

“We are asking for tickets to Thailand, Malaysia and China. Few airlines have promised to answer this week. We will have more guests if the airlines can offer more air tickets,” said Dang Trung Nghia, assistant general director of Fiditourist.

Khoi from Saigontourist said all international airlines had distributed seats to travel firms so it was difficult for the companies to ask for more. China is an example of a destination without enough air tickets to meet demand.
Ben Thanh Tourist likely will close outbound tours for New Year with bookings so far up by nearly 20%.

“We will have bookings for Lunar New Year on January 20. We expect a higher growth compared to this holiday because more and more guests are calling us about Tet tours,” said Ta Thi Cam Vinh, head of the company’s outbound department.

One of the changes this season is travel firms say they can’t earn much profit like in 2007. The companies are earning smaller profits more partners in the market.

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