Foreigners flock to Phu Quoc for New Year holiday

By Tu Nguyen, Ngoc Tai   December 31, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
Foreigners flock to Phu Quoc for New Year holiday
Many foreigners can be seen at the An Thoi Port area of Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Dec. 30, 2023. Photo by Truong Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc Island of the Mekong Delta's Kien Giang Province is full of foreign tourists in recent weeks, local tour guides have said.

Truong Phu Quoc, a tour guide of the island city, said ever since Christmas, foreign tourists could be seen everywhere on the island.

He said that on Dec. 29, while he took tourist to a seafood restaurant on Bach Dang District, he saw that all the customers were foreigners.

Quoc said areas with the highest number of foreign tourists were Rach Vem floating village and the islands included in local tours.

Since Friday afternoon, the plane parking area of the Phu Quoc Airport has had no open spot left. Within a single afternoon, eight planes carried procedures for landing and taking off, almost reaching the full capacity of the airport, making people wait for long periods.

On Friday, around 3,400 international visitors went to Phu Quoc, an increase of over 1,200 visitors from the previous day, according to Phu Quoc Airport.

The number of domestic visitors however dropped from over 5,200 people on Thursday to around 4,800 people on Friday.

Passengers at Phu Quoc Airport on Dec. 29, 2023. Photo by Ngoc Rio

Passengers at Phu Quoc Airport on Dec. 29, 2023. Photo by Ngoc Rio

Truong Cong Tam, president of the Phu Quoc Professional Tour Guide Association, said all of the unit's international tour guides have jobs over the entire holiday as there were a lot of foreign tourists.

However, only 30% of the tour guides specialized in domestic tourists have jobs for the New Year holiday, he added.

Several restaurants on the island have also been seeing large influx of foreign visitors.

A representative of Shri Phu Quoc said around 70% of the customers going to the restaurant were foreigners. The high number of tourists has made the restaurant order twice the amount of food as usual.

Huynh Quang Hung, chairman of the Phu Quoc People's Committee, said while there had been no exact statistics on the number of visitors coming to the island at the beginning of the New Year holiday, there "definitely has been sudden growth."

On Saturday alone, there were 100 flights coming in and out of Phu Quoc, around 30-40% higher than usual, and hotels and resorts in the northern and southern parts of the island have been booked at least 90% full for the holiday, he added.

"The number of foreign visitors has definitely increased, and besides tourists who flew directly from overseas, Phu Quoc has also been receiving foreign tourists from Hanoi, HCMC," Hung said.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island, used to be one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. But the number of arrivals has dropped significantly in recent months as tourists complained about various problems from high airfares, expensive prices, to littering and lack of public access to beaches. The authorities carried out patrols this month in an effort to fix price gouging and enhance public security.

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