Thousands of tours canceled as Typhoon Dianmu batters Vietnam

August 19, 2016 | 03:22 am PT
Thousands of tours canceled as Typhoon Dianmu batters Vietnam
Foreign tourists caught under heavy rain in the Old Quarter in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Trips out to sea and mountain treks would be a death wish in the north of the country.

Thousands of tours to popular destinations in Vietnam have been re-routed or canceled due to prolonged extreme weather.

Since Wednesday, tours to Ha Long Bay have been forced to return to Hanoi due to Quang Ninh Province’s ban on boats and ships going out to sea, said Pham Ha, sales manager at Bhaya Cruises. The company also stopped taking new bookings on Thursday.

“We have 19 ships in our fleet that were fully booked for these days. However, about 750 clients have canceled in just three days, costing the company $75,000 - $80,000,” said Ha.

“On the first day of the typhoon, when clients were unable to set out, we had to help them return to Hanoi. Since then, the fleet has stayed at anchor and we've stopped taking bookings,” said Le Phuong Nhi, sales and marketing director at Indochina Sails, adding that they'd received 500 cancelations due to Dianmu, the third typhoon to hit Vietnam this year.

Ha Long Bay, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of Hanoi, is one of Vietnam's top tourist attractions, drawing tens of thousands of domestic and overseas visitors each year, many of whom take overnight boat tours.

Many tour agencies have been forced to change their itineraries, cut short tours or reschedule.

Tours to Ha Long have been re-routed to the mountainous province of Ninh Binh, the Perfume Pagoda, the central province of Thanh Hoa or city tours of Hanoi, said Pham Hong Ha, director of APT Travel.

However, since Thursday, heavy rainfall has also canceled these alternative tours. “Today alone, all of the tours we had re-routed to Sa Pa, Cat Ba and Ninh Binh were canceled, and we lost 600-700 clients,” said the head of domestic tourism at APT Travel.

Some travel agencies have been forced to cancel up to 100 tours to Ha Long every day. Many trans-Vietnam tours have also been reversed, starting in the south instead of the north as scheduled.

Beside road tours, domestic and outbound flights have been delayed by the typhoon.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines canceled all flights to and from Cat Bi Airport in Hai Phong City, Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hoa Province and Lien Khuong Airport in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat today.

Budget airline Vietjet Air also rescheduled eight flights to and from Cat Bi Airport and Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, and canceled several others.

Typhoon Dianmu arrived in northern Vietnam at noon today, bringing gusts of wind up to 90km/h. The typhoon is expected to reduce to a low air pressure system at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Vietnam is hit by on average eight to 10 tropical storms formed in the Pacific Ocean between July and October every year, which often cause heavy material and human losses.

On July 26, Typhoon Mirinae formed in the South China Sea and made landfall in northern Vietnam, triggering heavy rains accompanied by gale-force winds.

Though not regarded as a strong typhoon, Mirinae caused significant damage in Vietnam, leaving a trail of destruction in Hanoi and the northern provinces of Nam Dinh,Thanh Hoa, Ha Nam and Ninh Binh.

In early August, Typhoon Nida swept through Hong Kong, shutting down most of the financial hub with gale-force winds and disrupting hundreds of flights before churning through China and weakening to a low pressure system.

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Vietnam Airlines cancels flights due to Typhoon Dianmu

Vietnam braces for third storm of typhoon season

Vietnam-Taiwan flights grounded due to super typhoon Nepartak

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