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Travel firms still edgy despite high summer tour sales

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HCMC – Tour sales during this summer travel season have exceeded the expectations of local travel agencies, with many tours fully-booked, but they are still anxious about a possible dip in sales in September once students resume school after the short summer break and travel restrictions continue to prevent international tourists from visiting Vietnam.

Signs of travel recovery

The local tourism industry has bounced back following a surge in the number of customers buying summer tours, and scores of hotels and resorts in popular destinations such as Vung Tau, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang and Da Lat have been packed with travellers, especially on the weekends.

Doan Thi Thanh Tra, marcom director of Saigontourist Travel Service Company, admitted that while the firm’s promotional tours and tours with fixed departure dates were sold out, only the road tours and normal-priced tours were still available.

Saigontourist is working to increase the number of seats and introduce additional tours for July and August, she added.

At the 16th HCMC Travel Fair that took place last weekend, many travel firms posted huge sales thanks to visitors who flocked to the event and booked discounted tours.

Data from the municipal Tourism Department revealed that tour sales during the three-day event amounted to VND25 billion.

The high travel demand has urged many travel firms to seek measures to increase the number of seats on each tour. However, it is hard for them to offer discounts on package tours by air, which are preferred among travelers, as the number of discounted tickets required to design such tours in the peak travel season is almost unavailable.

Worries over international travel restrictions

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently approved the resumption of air services between Vietnam and China and asked the Transport Ministry and the relevant agencies to work with their overseas counterparts on a plan to resume air services on some international routes. However, the Government leader reaffirmed that Vietnam has yet to open its doors to international tourists.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press briefing last week that the ministry informed foreign representative agencies in Vietnam about a plan to reopen air routes connecting Vietnam with some countries and regions starting mid-July.

Hang added that Vietnam will prioritize the entry of Vietnamese citizens stranded abroad, foreigners who are experts, investors or skilled employees arriving in Vietnam for official purposes and other extraordinary cases.

Tran Hoang Anh, director of Footsteps Indochina Travel Company, stated, “Half of the firm’s employees were laid off. We have no expectations with regard to the international segment this year.”

Similarly, other heads of travel agencies forecast that the country would not open to international tourists until the third quarter of the year. If some international air routes are approved to resume operations, the foreigners coming to Vietnam will be mainly experts and highly-skilled employees.

Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink Company, said it may take at least two years for the international segment to recover.

By Dao Loan

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