Travel firms see surge in tour bookings by overseas Vietnamese for Tet

By VNA   January 22, 2024 | 03:41 pm PT
Travel firms see surge in tour bookings by overseas Vietnamese for Tet
People pose for photos with Tet decorations outside a shopping mall in downtown HCMC, January 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
A sudden surge in the number of overseas Vietnamese booking tours and the recovery of international arrivals are among positive signs for the tourism industry this year.

Doan Thi Thanh Tra, director for marketing and communications of the Saigontourist travel service company, said the number of overseas Vietnamese booking services for the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays via her company has risen "abnormally."

Overseas Vietnamese account for up to 80% of all clients booking pre-Tet tours of Saigontourist and 60% of those booking post-Tet tours.

The number of overseas Vietnamese travelers is even higher than in the pre-pandemic period of 2017 - 2018. Previously, overseas Vietnamese clients of Saigontourist were mainly middle- and old-aged persons, but the surge in young travelers this year has surprised the company, Tra said.

Overseas Vietnamese tourists often book tours of between five and 10 days. They prefer cultural and experience tours of the central region that include Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, and the northern region that include Ninh Binh, Quang Ninh, and mountainous provinces. Most of these tours are package ones with relatively high prices.

Each overseas Vietnamese traveler returning to Vietnam for Tet usually book at least two tours – one before Tet and another during or after this biggest traditional festival, Tra told the Thanh Nien newspaper.

Overseas Vietnamese now tend to return to the homeland all year round, not only for Tet. Given this, Saigontourist is developing particular products for this group of holidaymakers, she added.

Vietluxtour has also reported good growth in the number of overseas Vietnamese booking Tet tours, its communications director Tran Thi Bao Thu said, noting that overseas Vietnamese clients of her company are middle-class ones and families using services at four- to five-star resorts.

They tend to just relax and do not have much need for sightseeing. This is a "niche market" that many travel firms are capitalizing on amid economic difficulties forcing families to cut spending on holidays, she added.

In addition, the tourism industry has also enjoyed an inflow of international travelers since the start of 2024.

The island city of Phu Quoc, which experienced poor performance in 2023, has witnessed a sudden increase in arrivals, especially international ones, since the end of last year. It has welcomed 2,000-2,500 international visitors, over half of whom are from South Korea, each day on average.

In particular, the debut of the Kiss Bridge and the Sunset Town entertainment complex there warmed up the local tourism atmosphere amid the festive season in late 2023.

As a result, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, home to Phu Quoc, attracted more than 120,000 arrivals during the 2024 New Year holidays, including over 15,000 foreigners, while the occupancy rate at accommodation facilities reached 63.2% and tourism revenue hit VND369 billion (over US$15 million), statistics show.

Ho Chi Minh City has also seen a large number of foreigners traveling around on these days. Ben Thanh Market, a tourist magnet in this southern economic hub, has recorded many international visitors, mainly Indian, Korean, Japanese, and European ones, coming to its confectionary, coffee, apparel, and fashion accessory shops.

The municipal Tourism Department said the city welcomed more than 46,500 international visitors during the recent New Year holidays, shooting up 86.1% from the 25,000 during the same period of 2023. Particularly, cruise travelers who are high-end tourists from Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan, are growing well.

Last year, 12.6 million international tourists chose Vietnam as their holiday destination, rising almost 3.5-fold from 2022 and exceeding the initial target.

Vietnam targets about 17 - 18 million international travelers, 110 million domestic ones, and about VND840 trillion in tourism revenues in 2024. In the most ideal condition, if it manages to attract 18 million foreign arrivals, the tourism industry could be said to fully recover to the record level of 2019.

Nguyen Trung Khanh, Director of the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism, said that after nearly two years of taking recovery measures, the tourism industry is now on an upward trend. While many localities have posted strong tourist growth, Vietnam has won many prestigious awards, including 19 at the world level and 54 at the Asian level presented by the World Travel Awards.

With the achievements obtained in 2023, 2024 will be the time for Vietnam’s tourism industry to gain speed to strengthen competitiveness compared to regional rivals, he said.

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