Phu Quoc hotels, travel firms hit as tourists cancel plans for month-end holidays

By Tu Nguyen   April 9, 2023 | 10:28 pm PT
Phu Quoc hotels, travel firms hit as tourists cancel plans for month-end holidays
Tourists snorkel above coral reefs in Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Lan Huong
A rash of cancelations during the long holiday break later this month due to high airfares has left hotels in Phu Quoc Island and travel firms in a desperate situation.

Three weeks before the five-day holiday for Reunification Day and Labor Day (April 29-May 3), Bui Ang Van, general manager of Kim Hoa Resort, said the occupancy rate during the period is only 45%.

It had been 85% a month ago but many people canceled their bookings due to high airfares.

A night's stay now costs VND900,000 (US$38.38) while before the Covid pandemic it had been VND1.4 million.

"It's not just me, other hotels and accommodation establishments in Phu Quoc too are now in dire straits due to the lack of tourists during the April 30 holiday," Van said.

At a five-star hotel, occupancy is only 15%.

Tuan Phan, its marketing and communications manager, said many people decided to cancel their travel plans to Phu Quoc and instead find nearby destinations to save money.

Truong Cong Tam, chairman of the Phu Quoc Professional Association of Tour Guides, said only 35% of members would have work during the holiday.

The association tried to find jobs for them but failed after the high number of cancelations, he said.

A round ticket from Hanoi to Phu Quoc during the holidays costs VND6-10 million, while from HCMC it is VND3.5-4 million, double the rates last year.

"I do not understand why this year air tickets to Phu Quoc are more expensive than to Thailand and Singapore," Phan said.

Le Thi Hai Chau, general secretary of the Phu Quoc Tourism Development Investment Association (PITDA), said since most tourists arrive in Phu Quoc by air, expensive fares hurt the local tourism industry.

The lack of direct flights from international destinations also hinders tourism recovery.

Before the pandemic the island used to receive charter flights from Russia and Eastern Europe, but they have yet to resume due to the impacts of Russia-Ukraine war.

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.

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