Da Nang tourists now prefer Nha Trang's ease

By Nguyen Dong    October 14, 2023 | 07:32 pm PT
Da Nang tourists now prefer Nha Trang's ease
South Korean tourists walk on a street in Da Nang, central Vietnam, October 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
The lack of flights, poor tourism products and high room rates have kept international tourists away from Da Nang, swaying them towards Nha Trang instead, where traveling is easier.

In the first nine months of this year, Da Nang received 1.6 million foreign arrivals, up 5.8 times year-on-year, but only equivalent to 67% of 2019's pre-pandemic levels, according to statistics from the city's Department of Tourism.

South Korean tourists, who now account for 48% of total arrivals in Da Nang, prefer Nha Trang to Da Nang due to cheap room rates, said Luong Nguyen Minh Triet, Chairman of the People's Council of Da Nang, at a recent conference.

Room rates in Nha Trang were only VND700,000-800,000 (US$28.62-32.71), while Da Nang rates cost up to VND3-4 million, he said, adding that tour agencies would definitely move to cheaper destinations.

In the first nine months of 2023, Khanh Hoa Province (home to Nha Trang) welcomed more than 1.45 million international visitors, up 9.6 times year-on-year.

China and Russia were Nha Trang's traditional markets before the pandemic, but South Korea is now the beach town's biggest feeder tourism market.

A series of South Korean stars recently made a publicized visit to Nha Trang, which boosted the seaside city’s reputation.

Triet said that competitive prices are a very important factor in attracting international visitors back to Da Nang.

Another main cause of the low number of international visitors is due to the lack of direct flight routes to the port city where the mountains meet the sea.

India, a highly potential post-lockdown market for the Vietnamese tourism industry, is grappling with difficulties in opening direct routes to Da Nang, said Truong Thi Hong Hanh, director of the city's Department of Tourism, at the conference.

Travel agencies also worry that the number of individual international visitors could decrease and further deplete revenues.

Statistics show that by the end of the third quarter, up to 80% of international visitors had traveled alone to Da Nang, mainly Korean tourists (more than 770,000).

Da Nang tourism officials need to make more detailed recommendations to city authorities so the government can issue specific policies to help revive the tourism industry, Triet said.

Initiatives to develop a night-time economy, community tourism, ecotourism and tourism human resources should be prioritized, he added.

Tran Chi Cuong, vice chairman of the Da Nang City People's Committee, said the local travel industry also needs to take into account gloomy global economic prospects. Thus, he suggested, the tourism industry should seek new tourist sources to replace traditional markets and boost tourism promotions in new markets while investing heavily in new products.

Da Nang aims to attract a total of 2.5 million foreign visitors in 2024, upping the target to 2.8 million in 2025, still lower than 2019's figure of 3.24 million.

These modest goals reveals the city's cautious approach to raising unrealistically high expectations for short-term foreign tourism recoveries.

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