Hotels, travel firms struggle as domestic flights to Phu Quoc suspended

By Tu Nguyen   December 13, 2023 | 10:13 pm PT
Hotels, travel firms struggle as domestic flights to Phu Quoc suspended
Phu Quoc night market with a small number of visitors during the National Day holiday on Sept. 2, 2023. Photo by Truong Phu Quoc
The travel and hospitality industries in Phu Quoc are feeling the pinch as the suspension of flights from Da Nang, Nha Trang and Can Tho means fewer visitors.

Phan Van Manh, director of Phu Quoc Golden Dragon Travel Company, said without flights from Da Nang, Phu Quoc would certainly lose a large number of tourists from the central region, while visitors from the north region are dissuaded by the soaring airfares.

A round trip costs around VND5 million (US$206).

The flights were canceled due to low demand. The number of domestic tourists to Phu Quoc has halved in the last three months.

"With airfares skyrocketing, Phu Quoc cannot compete with tours to Thailand or mainland China," Manh said.

His company's revenues this year are likely to be 50% of last year's due to the sluggish business, he added.

Vu Tien Van, chairman of tour company Adavigo, said foreign tourist arrivals has been good during the year-end tourism season but there are almost no domestic visitors.

His company's revenues have decreased by 70% this year, he said.

His hotel only had 10% occupancy during non-peak periods, he said.

Phu Quoc still relies heavily on domestic tourists and the suspension of flights is a big blow, he said.

Now tourists have only three options for flying to Phu Quoc -- from Hanoi, HCMC or Hai Phong -- and the fares are expensive.

The island has more than 700 accommodation establishments with over 24,000 rooms.

The number of domestic tourists has decreased sharply in the last three months: The National Day holidays in September saw some hotels and resorts have occupancy rates of just 10-15%.

Data from travel platform Mustgo, which partners with 2,000 hotels across the country, showed occupancy rates during the National Day holiday were less than 30% for the five-star segment and 30-35% for the four-star segment.

Bui Thanh Tu, marketing director of travel firm Best Price, said with 24,000 rooms and only 3,000 passengers flying in daily from Hanoi, Hai Phong and HCMC, accommodation establishments are facing a crisis.

If this continues, a number of workers could lose their jobs, he warned.

Once a top holiday attraction often praised by the international media, Phu Quoc has seen a slowdown in recent months as tourists voted with their feet due to soaring airfares, exorbitant hotel and other prices and scams.

Last month tourism authorities on the island vowed to improve the quality of services and prevent price gouging to revive its flagging reputation.

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