Outbound tours to Japan, South Korea regain thrust

By Hoang Phong   October 15, 2022 | 04:04 pm PT
Outbound tours to Japan, South Korea regain thrust
Vietnamese tourists at traditional Seomun Market in South Korea's Daegu. Photo courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam
Vietnamese travel firms say outbound tours to Japan and South Korea are selling like hot cakes after both nations eased their border restrictions.

Hoang Thuy Linh, deputy director of marketing and communications at HCMC tour operator Saigontourist, said tours to Japan and South Korea were already fully booked until this December.

The company is offering five-day tour packages to South Korea at prices starting from VND13.99 million ($580) for those departing from Hanoi and VND22.99 million from HCMC.

Tours to Japan cost VND35-40 million per person.

"Demand for tours to Japan and South Korea is expected to grow in the coming time, especially during the New Year holiday," Linh told VnExpress International.

"The popularity of outbound tours to South Korea has greatly contributed to my company's revenue growth post the reopening (of international tourism)."

Her company plans weekly outbound tours to Japan and South Korea with each accommodating a maximum of 40 guests, she said.

Japan reopened its borders to Vietnamese tourists from September while South Korea reopened international tourism in June but only lifted Covid test requirements for arrivals from Vietnam last month.

Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy marketing head at Vietravel, said that after Japan eased border restrictions, her company worked quickly with its tourism agencies and carriers to offer the most stimulating prices for tours to the Northeast Asian country.

Khanh said her company expects to serve more than 10,000 visitors on tours to Japan, Taiwan and South Korea in the fourth quarter of this year.

Vietravel’s tour packages to Japan start at VND24 million per person.

HCMC-based BenThanh Tourist said its first outbound tourist group to Japan arrived in Tokyo Tuesday, signaling a recovery in the Japanese market after over two years.

Thi Quoc Duy with BenThanh Tourist said Japan and South Korea were the most favorite outbound destinations for Vietnamese tourists before the pandemic. Soon after these countries lifted Covid restrictions, the company began receiving great interest from customers in traveling to these destinations.

Tran Thi Bao Thu, director of marketing and communications at HCMC-based Fiditour, said that the company has resumed selling tours to Japan and South Korea that will depart in November.

"If the Covid pandemic situation continues to be controlled well and visa policies are loosened, the outbound tourism market can recover soon to pre-pandemic levels," she added.

After Taiwanese authorities announced that Vietnamese travelers could apply for social visit or tourist entry visas starting October 13, travel firms get ready to resume tours to Taiwan.

Vietnam ranked first in the number of foreign arrivals to Japan in the first eight months of 2022 at over 160,000, according to the Japanese National Travel Organization (JNTO) Representative Office in Vietnam.

South Korea received over 80,000 Vietnamese tourists in January-August, a far cry from 2019’s figure 550,000.

Vietnam reopened its borders in mid-March after two years of closures and resumed visa exemption policies for Japanese and South Korean tourists.

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