Beach tourist hubs expect overcrowding this summer

By Tu Nguyen, Le Tan   June 14, 2023 | 11:03 pm PT
Beach tourist hubs expect overcrowding this summer
Tourists at Bai Chay beach in Ha Long in northern Vietnam on June 11, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan
Popular beach tourist cities such as Ha Long, Da Nang, Phan Thiet and Sam Son are expected to be overrun by holiday crowds this summer as hotel occupancy rates have already reached over 80%.

Data from travel platform Mustgo, which partners with 2,000 hotels across the country, shows hotel occupancy rates in Sam Son in the north central province of Thanh Hoa have reached 90% on weekends.

Pham Lan, a tourist from Hanoi who arrived in Sam Son beach last weekend, said the beach was "overcrowded."

Sam Son, around 160 kilometers from Hanoi, has become a frequently-visited destination during the summer holiday in recent years, with accommodation and tourism services flourishing.

Sam Son beach is flooded with tourists June 2023. Photo by Pham Lan

Sam Son beach in north central Vietnam is flooded with tourists June 2023. Photo by Pham Lan

Around four hours from Sam Son, Ha Long City, home to beautiful beaches and a UNESCO heritage bay, received 100,000 visitors last week, up 20% from the previous week.

Beaches in Van Don, Co To and Mong Cai were also crowded.

Authorities in Ha Long recently stepped up efforts to clean up its beaches after many foreign tourists complained about trash.

Booking data from Hanoi-based Top One Travel company shows that Ha Long, Sam Son or Cat Ba Island are the favorite beach destinations this summer.

The number of tourists booking tours to the three destinations account for 30% of the company’s summer total.

In the central region, Da Nang, which is hosting a month-long international fireworks festival, remains the top choice this summer.

The occupancy rate of three-to-four-star hotels reached 80%, with prices surging by 30%, according to Mustgo data.

Online travel agency recently also revealed Da Nang was the most searched destination among domestic travelers this summer, followed by Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, based on an analysis of check-in dates between July 1 and August 31.

Quy Nhon is also a favorite summer choice with occupancy rates ranging from 40% to 60%.

Down south, Phan Thiet, home to beach tourism hubs like Mui Ne and Phu Quy Island, has witnessed a travel boom this summer after the Dau Giay – Phan Thiet Expressway opened to traffic in late April, cutting travel time from HCMC to Phan Thiet to around two hours.

Many hotels in Phan Thiet are almost fully booked at the weekends.

Phu Quoc off the southern coast is no longer as popular as last summer due to unfavorable weather and rough seas. The two-to-three-star hotel segment there has recorded an occupancy rate of about 35-40% while the four-five-star segment has reached about 30%.

Since the beginning of June, Phu Quoc has continuously experienced sudden rainfall.

This year travel businesses have reported declining revenues due to low travel demand, triggered by a gloomy economic outlook.

The top travel concerns of Vietnamese travelers this summer are the weather and prices, according to a survey of 500 Vietnamese by Milieu Insight, a consumer research firm focusing on Southeast Asia.

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