Summer holiday overcrowding tests tourists' endurance

By Tam Anh, Bui Toan   July 20, 2022 | 08:31 pm PT
Summer holiday overcrowding tests tourists' endurance
Tourists flood Cat Ba Island in Hai Phong City in June 2022. Photo by Quy Coc Tu
Many tourists are ruing summer vacation burdens, having to catch early-morning flights to avoid airport crowds, struggle to find a restaurant and wait for hours to get on a ferry.

"Too crowded. It was really a nightmare and my family were totally exhausted because of overcrowding and sizzling weather," said Anh Ngoc of Hanoi, describing a weekend trip to the famous Ha Long Bay, around two hours from the capital city.

She said streets in downtown Ha Long were not too crowded but restaurants, beaches and entertainment complexes were overloaded with tourists and there was almost no vacancy.

"Our biggest fear was riding a cable car at Sun World Ha Long. All the cabins were full and we couldn't breathe. There was no enough space to follow pandemic prevention measures," Ngoc said.

Phan Van Hau of the northern Vinh Phuc Province, who also visited Ha Long Bay earlier this month, said most restaurants in the downtown area were overloaded and customers had to wait for more than an one hour to get seated.

"My family booked a hotel in the Bai Chay tourism area and we mainly walked for more than a kilometer to find a restaurant or street food stall because it was too difficult to get a taxi during peak hours," said Hau.

Minh Quan of Hanoi also suffered one of his worst travel experiences, having to wait for over five hours to get on a ferry to Cat Ba Islands off Hai Phong City last month.

"It was a bit scary. My group had to wait from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get on a ferry at the Got pier that connects Cat Hai and Cat Ba Town," he said.

HCMC resident Dieu Linh reached the Tan Son Nhat Airport at 4 a.m. earlier this month to take a flight to Da Nang. She was hoping to avoid the crowd by arriving early.

Contrary to what she expected, all check-in booths and security gates were overcrowded, and it took more than an hour for her family to complete procedures.

The overcrowding at Tan Son Nhat's domestic terminal saw Vietjet Air, Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines to charge passengers up to VND140,000 ($5.97) for priority check-ins. However, this has been scrapped after the civil aviation authority ordered a stop to it following public outrage.

Travel firms said that after the government reopened domestic tourism and lifted all Covid restrictions, Vietnam has seen a domestic tourism boom, especially this summer.

Pham Van Bay, deputy director of tour operator Vietravel, said they expected to serve around 250,000 tourists between June and August.

Tran Thi Bao Thu, director of marketing and communications at Fiditour, said her company has achieved nearly 70 percent of its summer business plan with a surge in tour bookings.

On two major booking websites and Agoda, over half of high-end resorts in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Quy Nhon and Da Nang are full on weekends until the end of July.

There were 60.8 million domestic tourists in the first half of this year, exceeding the annual target of 60 million.

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