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Hanoi might not be as cheap as you first thought

By Vi Vu   April 14, 2017 | 04:26 pm GMT+7
Hanoi might not be as cheap as you first thought
Tourists tour the Old Quarter in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Xavier Bourgois

New statistics say that hotel room rates in the city have increased by 41 percent over the past year.

Hanoi has long been known as one of the cheapest travel destinations in the world, at least according to years of TripAdvisor rankings, but new real estate statistics are telling a different story.

A new report by real estate consultancy Savills shows that Hanoi’s hotel occupancy and prices have been booming during the first quarter of 2017.

The average hotel room rate in the capital city in the first three months increased a staggering 41 percent from a year ago to $116 per night.

Five-star room rates saw the biggest rise of 42 percent to $156 per room per night, while four-star room rates rose 22 percent to $79 and three-star room rates went up 29 percent to $54.

Hotel occupancy in Hanoi also increased seven percentage points to 74 percent of the city's 9,200 hotel rooms in the first quarter.

The city, which received 1.3 million foreign visitors in the first three months, a 10 percent rise year-on-year, expects to add 900 hotel rooms this year.

The city has been named the cheapest travel destination in the TripIndex report for the past three years.

Budget tourism site Price of Travel also recommended it as the third cheapest tourist spot in Asia for 2017, with daily expenses for a backpacker estimated at $18.16.

Best advice: Research and be prepared.

In contrast, the market in Ho Chi Minh City has remained cool, with five-star rooms charging $121 a night, the same rate as last year, and slightly down from the last quarter of 2016, according to Savills.

Four-star hotels are charging $69 a room and a three-star costs $47, down seven percent from a year ago.

The city, which aims to welcome seven million foreign visitors this year compared to five million in 2016, plans to add 2,000 rooms to the current 16,200 by 2018.

Vietnam was recently ranked the third most expensive travel destination in Southeast Asia, only after Singapore and Cambodia, by the World Economic Forum. That was soon after Forbes in February ranked the country as one of the cheapest places to visit in 2017, after interviewing 14 travel experts.

Vietnam welcomed more than 10 million foreign visitors in 2016, up 26 percent from the previous year, and 90 percent of them traveled to Hanoi and HCMC. Tourism is expected to contribute 10 percent to Vietnam’s gross domestic product by 2020, when the country expects to receive up to 20 million foreign visitors and earn $35 billion in tourism revenue.