Low hotel occupancy as tourists tighten their belts

By Tu Nguyen   August 26, 2023 | 07:29 pm PT
Low hotel occupancy as tourists tighten their belts
Tran Phu beach in Nha Trang City. Photo by Khoa Tran
Hotel booking data forecast Vietnam's top tourist destinations to experience less overcrowding during the four-day break for the National Day celebration late next week, with occupancy rates reaching below 80%.

Data from travel platform Mustgo, which partners with 2,000 hotels across the country, showed hotel occupancy rates across the country was much lower than expected as the holiday approaches.

In the popular beach city of Nha Trang, occupancy rates at 4-star and 5-star hotels has reached only 30% to 40%, with most guests mainly booking rooms on the first two days on Sept. 1 and 2.

In Cam Ranh, around 40 kilometers from Nha Trang, the average occupancy rate in the five-star segment was 40%.

Selectum Noa Resort Cam Ranh recorded an occupancy rate of about 50%, while Alma Resort reached 60%, on Sept. 1 and 2, but on Sept. 3, the rate was 30% - 40%.

In the south, Vung Tau, which is usually overcrowded on long holiday breaks, has also recorded low occupancy for the upcoming holiday, with a rate of 30% in the 5-star segment, 30 - 35% for the 4-star segment and 25% for the three-star segment.

Tourism insiders said that after the Dau Giay - Phan Thiet expressway opened to traffic last April, cutting the travel time from HCMC to Phan Thiet to around two hours, most beach visitors in the south have shifted to Phan Thiet, home to the resort town of Mui Ne.

In Phan Thiet, home to Mui Ne, booking data showed room occupancies of 40% - 60%.

Movenpick Resort Phan Thiet was fully booked from Sept. 1 to 3, while the Cliff Resort & Residences is 90% full on Sept. 1-2.

And while Mui Ne thrives, other seaside escapes languish: the number of holiday hotel bookings on the island of Phu Quoc – known for its pristine breaches – is one of the lowest among Vietnam’s top tourist destinations.

The four-star segment reached 10-25%, with Seashells Phu Quoc Hotel & Spa alone reaching nearly 50%.

Resorts and villas on the south side of the island have reached occupancy rates of only 15%. Most accommodation facilities in this city have waived holiday surcharges.

The mountainside getaway of Da Lat in the Central Highlands is still a top destination for tourists during the holiday with room occupancies of over 60% in the four-and five-star segments. Da Lat has little competition because there are few places like it in Vietnam.

Dinh Thi Thu Thao, sales director of Mustgo, said that low travel demand for the holiday was triggered by current economic challenges that have lead many families to cut spending.

However, things are not gloomy all over the country. Some travel hot-spots are still hot.

In Sa Pa, another mountainous town in northern Vietnam, data from Mustgo showed that occupancy rates are currently 50 - 85%, mainly in the three-star and four-star segments.

The number of vacant rooms in Ha Long is still high when the occupancy rate reached about 40 - 60%.

The occupancy of beachside hotels in Da Nang reached 70 - 80% while city hotels were less favored, reaching 40-50%. Most accommodation facilities still apply the surcharge policy.

In Hoi An, room occupancy rates range from 40 to 70%.

This year, the government chose to begin the holiday one day before the official day on Sept. 2 to give some space before the first day of the new school year on Sept. 5.

As the holiday will fall on the weekend, it will be a four-day holiday in total.

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