Tourism industry pledges 'reasonable prices' amid expensive airfares

By Bich Phuong   April 15, 2024 | 02:25 am PT
Tourism industry pledges 'reasonable prices' amid expensive airfares
Visitors at Kien Trung Palace in Hue, February 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
The Vietnam National Tourism Administration has said the tourism industry will work closely with government agencies to offer "reasonable prices" for domestic travel amid complaints of stubbornly expensive airfares.

During the upcoming five-day Reunification Day-Labor Day holiday and peak summer travel season, more Vietnamese tourists are expected to travel abroad on local tour packages costing from VND7-15 million (US$279-519) because domestic travel is more expensive due to rising airfares.

Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the administration, said his agency would cooperate with relevant sides and "provide solutions to promote domestic tourism."

The tourism industry plans to coordinate with the transportation industry to offer new tourism products that adapt to market fluctuations, "turning difficulties into opportunities," he said.

One of the planned measures is to diversify means of transport, connecting air travel with waterways, roads and railways, to open up opportunities for new destinations, Sieu added.

Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy general director of leading operator Vietravel, said the company is promoting train tours in 2024.

Hoang said newly revamped train journey experiences are breathing fresh air into the domestic tourism market during peak summer season in the context of high airfares.

In addition, Sieu said government tourism agencies will coordinate local travel agencies, associations, and businesses to offer specific promotions at tourism festivals and international travel fairs.

New products will include a series of "tour packages or combo packages in harmony with people's budgets that still create new experiences," he added.

In terms of prices, domestic tourism products need to be competitive, not only at domestic destinations, but also compared to foreign destinations.

Sieu said a major issue requiring initiative would be to link airlines, hotels, and restaurants in effective, efficient and economical service supply chains.

"If each party in the supply chain agrees to cooperate and commit to offering reasonable prices, tourists will enjoy competitive prices," he argued.

To do this, Sieu said there needs to be support from the state in the form of more beneficial tax policies for tourism and travel businesses.

He said that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism would have to work with the Ministry of Finance to implement specific tax policies during both peak and low tourist seasons.

To bring domestic tourism products to reasonable price levels, many industry analysts have argued for synchronized solutions that link different sectors.

Associate Professor Nguyen Thien Tong, former head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, proposed that there should be more international low-cost airlines in Vietnam offering budget domestic flights.

Although the number of domestic tourists last year exceeded the 2022 figure, the number of travelers booking specific tour packages decreased sharply.

Some travel companies in Ho Chi Minh City have revealed that the number of customers that booked domestic tours last year fell by up to 50% compared to 2022.

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