Phu Quoc hotels, travel firms despair as high airfares keep tourists away

By Tu Nguyen   April 15, 2024 | 03:09 pm PT
Phu Quoc hotels, travel firms despair as high airfares keep tourists away
Foreign tourists on Kem Beach in Phu Quoc. Photo courtesy of Visit Phu Quoc
Expensive airfares are causing tourists to shun Phu Quoc during the five-day Reunification Day and May Day holidays starting at the end of this month.

Ngoc Linh, 39, of HCMC’s District 1 said her family always visits the island during national holidays.

This year, despite trying to book tickets more than a month in advance, she found them 1.5 times the normal rate, and so decided to travel to some other beach destinations near HCMC such as Vung Tau or Mui Ne to cut costs.

Nguyen Ho Phong, 50, and his wife have booked tours to Thailand during the holidays.

They too wanted to travel to Phu Quoc but a four-day tour package to the island cost VND8 million (US$319) per person, the same as to Thailand, and so they changed travel plans.

VnExpress found that the cheapest return fare between Hanoi and Phu Quoc between April 28 and May 1 is VND5.3 million for early-morning and late-night departures, nearly double the rate in mid-March.

It costs VND3.3-3.8 million from HCMC.

Phan Van Manh, director of Phu Quoc Golden Dragon Company, which provides land tours and cars for rent, said he did not dare increase prices during the upcoming holidays because airfares are so high.

He said he has few bookings though the holidays are only two weeks away.

His company hopes airlines reduce fares closer to the holidays and the situation improves.

Some travel agencies have even removed Phu Quoc tours from their itineraries because of the high airfares.

Hoang Viet Travel Company said it is not selling Phu Quoc tours during the holidays.

Luu Thi Thu, its deputy director , said: "The price of a tour package to Phu Quoc during the holidays is more expensive than a four-day tour to China’s Fenghuang Guzhen ancient town."

A representative of Mustgo, a booking platform with 2,000 partner hotels across the country, said most hotels in Phu Quoc have eliminated holiday surcharges except for some international five-star hotels that only get foreign tourists.

A spokesperson for a five-star resort in the north of the island said airfares have become an obstacle for tourists, and predicted that people living in the south would opt for nearby beach destinations such as Phan Thiet, Mui Ne and Ho Tram while those in Hanoi and other northern localities would also avoid traveling to the island.

Well known for its long, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and dense forests, Phu Quoc has become a popular holiday destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Last year too it suffered a tourism crisis due to high airfares, scams and other issues.

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