Travel, aviation industries make hopeful start to lunar year

By Nguyen Quy   February 9, 2022 | 04:54 pm PT
Travel, aviation industries make hopeful start to lunar year
Foreign tourists ride a roller coaster in Phu Quoc Island during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Thao
Aviation businesses and travel firms are optimistic about this year's tourism outlook after witnessing a strong recovery during the Tet holidays.

Tran Nguyen, sales director of giant hospitality company and property developer Sun Group, said most of his company's tourist areas recorded impressive growth in visitor numbers during the nine-day holidays that ended on Sunday.

Sun World Ba Den Mountain in the southern province of Tay Ninh received a record 400,000 visitors, 85 percent up from last year.

The number of visitors to Sun World Hon Thom on Phu Quoc Island doubled and to Sun World Sa Pa in the northern mountains was up 160 percent.

The company’s resorts and hotels in Phu Quoc and Sa Pa reported occupancy rates of over 70 percent during February 1-5.

Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy marketing head of major travel firm Vietravel, said his company served 5,000 tourists, much higher than last year.

Between February 2 and 4 it organized four charter flights for nearly 1,000 tourists from HCMC to Phu Quoc.

Nguyen Vu Khac Huy, general director of Vina Phu Quoc Travel Company, said his company served 15,000 tourists during Tet, up 30 percent against the same period of last year.

"I could not hide my joy as domestic tourism recovered strongly during the Tet holiday after nearly two years of being hit hard by the pandemic. It was a bright start."

The travel boom has given domestic carriers something to cheer about at the start of the new lunar year.

A Vietnam Airlines spokesperson said flights from HCMC to north and central provinces were 94-97 percent occupied.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport received the highest number of passengers in a single day in the last two years, 63,000, during the holiday.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam on Monday green-lighted the addition of 251 flights to HCMC between February 7 and 10 to meet strong post-Tet demand.

Positive signs

Industry insiders said with Vietnam having one of the world's highest Covid vaccination rates and localities removing all quarantine and testing requirements, most tourist hotspots were packed with holiday crowds.

Nguyen believed 2022 would be a bright year for Vietnam's tourism after the long gap due to the pandemic.

She hoped the government would fully reopen borders to foreign travelers by late March and lift all travel restrictions.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism last month suggested opening the borders by March 31 and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh concurred with the timing saying it should be done no later than April.

Besides focusing on reviving the domestic market, Vietravel has also launched a series of outbound tours to Phnom Penh, the U.S. and Maldives as many countries around the world have reopened and scrapped quarantine for Vietnamese tourists.

The Vietnam Airlines spokesperson said if Vietnam completes its booster shot campaign in the first quarter of this year and all travel restrictions are lifted, the number of domestic travelers could reach 88 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

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