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Stranded tourists in Phu Quoc struggle as bad weather disrupts travel

By Staff reporters   July 13, 2022 | 04:30 am PT
Stranded tourists in Phu Quoc struggle as bad weather disrupts travel
Strong winds near Dinh Cau Temple on Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam, July 2022. Photo courtesy of Hoang Trung Khai
Thousands of tourists stuck on Phu Quoc Island for days due to bad weather are struggling to return to the mainland with suspended ferry services and limited flights, leaving them anxious.

As of Wednesday, over 40,000 tourists are now stuck in Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island off the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, as ferry services to the mainland are suspended due to rough seas and strong winds.

Sarah Loxley from Australia is among more than 2,000 foreign tourists stuck in the island.

"Lots of rain," she said.

Loxley lost her temporary residence card in the chaos and is waiting for her passport from Da Nang so that she could fly home.

Many visitors like her are seeing their trips exceed their expectations.

Nguyen Hong Vu, 36, feels lucky that he and his wife did not bring their children along for this stormy trip.

According to the original schedule, their group would have left Phu Quoc on Wednesday on a high-speed boat to Rach Gia Port and continue to Can Tho where they would visit the Cai Rang floating market.

However, all ferries and high-speed boat services connecting the mainland in Ha Tien and Rach Gia to Phu Quoc Island have been suspended from Monday morning.

Their group would cancel their visit to Can Tho and are waiting to fly back to Ho Chi Minh City but regular flights to and from Phu Quoc are limited until the weather calms down.

Pham Tran Quoc Bao, a tour guide of Moc Tam Phan Travel Company where Thuy and Vu booked tours said that travel companies ‘are passive’ as airlines cut flights because of the weather, leading to expensive ticket prices at about VND3 million per person.

"Travel companies are straining to arrange air tickets," he said.

Duong Van Khon, director of Phu Quoc Today travel agency, said his company’s 130 tourists who planned to visit Phu Quoc are also stranded in Rach Gia Town due to travel disruption.

The company is arranging for tourists to visit a few spots in the town and continues to monitor the weather situation.

Nguyen Vu Khac Huy, director of Vina Phu Quoc Tourism Co., Ltd., said that tourists stuck in Phu Quoc will be provided with accommodation and if costs incur, his company would negotiate with tourists.

Those stuck in Rach Gia can cancel their tours or wait for the weather to stabilize.

Huynh Quang Hung, chairman of Phu Quoc, ordered all accommodation facilities to consider offering discounts to affected tourists so that they can rest assured to stay in the island.

Phu Quoc, famous for its long sandy beaches and luxury resorts, has entered the peak summer travel season, but May-October is also the rainy season there.

Under the influence of an intertropical convergence zone and a low-pressure area, the country's southwestern coast has been hit by heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas since Sunday.

Phu Quoc received 1.4 million tourists in the first half of this year, or over 70 percent of its full-year target.

 
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