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Vietnam tourism workers cash in on long weekend rush

By Nguyen Quy, Lan Huong   April 12, 2022 | 06:01 am PT
It was a bonanza for tourism workers as hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions across the country operated at close to maximum capacity during the recently concluded three-day break.

Tran Minh Phuc, a cyclo driver in Hue, earned around VND5 million ($218.26) a day during the long weekend that wrapped on Monday, 10 times higher than normal days.

He took tourists across the city’s iconic tourist attractions including the Truong Tien Bridge, the Ngo Mon Gate in front of the Imperial Citadel and the Dong Ba Market, charging VND150,000 for a 20-minute cyclo ride.

Phuc said he had switched to farming during the two years of the pandemic and returned to his old job after tourism activities in Hue resumed earlier this year.

During the holiday, he worked non-stop from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and had almost no time for lunch.

A cyclo driver on Nguyen Dinh Chieu pedestrian zone in Hue Town, April 9 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

A cyclo driver on Nguyen Dinh Chieu pedestrian zone in Hue Town, April 9, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

Thua Thien-Hue Province, home to Hue, welcomed 35,000 visitors during the three-day break, six times higher than the New Year holiday.

Hotel occupancy rates reached 70-80 percent, with many three-to-five-star hotels in the downtown area operating at maximum capacity.

Nguyen Thi Khanh Huong, receptionist at a three-star hotel in downtown Hue, said they were fully booked between April 8 and 11, with guests mainly being runners participating in the VnExpress Marathon Imperial Hue.

"This is the first time my hotel was full after nearly two years."

Nguyen Hieu, CEO of tourism firm Vitamin Tours, which specializes in providing tours including hotel accommodation, said his company was busy during the holiday, with many last minute bookings.

Hieu said many three-star hotels in Sa Pa in the northern highlands and four-to-five star hotels in Ha Long, home to Ha Long Bay, were nearly fully booked April 9-10.

Two restaurants on Xuan Vien Street in Sa Pa with a capacity of about 1,000 guests were overcrowded during the holiday. The restaurant chain owner had to mobilize more staff to serve about 2,500-3,000 guests every day.

Le Tan Triet, sales and marketing director of Terracotta Hotel & Resort Da Lat in the Central Highlands resort town, said that they operated at 95 percent capacity during the holiday.

Crowds flood the area near the famous night market in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat on April 10, 2022. Photo by Pham Minh Tai

Crowds flood the area near the famous night market in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat on April 10, 2022. Photo by Pham Minh Tai

Hoang Thuy Linh, deputy director of Marketing and Communication of leading tour operator Saigontourist, said they served more than 8,000 clients during the holiday.

Most guests bought combo package tours to beach tourist hotspots such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Quy Nhon and Da Nang.

"We see this as a positive signal, stirring bigger hopes for the long break for the Reunification Day (April 30) holiday," Linh said.

Da Nang City received nearly 80,000 tourists during the holiday, around eight times higher than New Year holiday.

Cao Tri Dung, chairman of Da Nang Tourism Association, said firms were optimistic and excited about the revival of the domestic tourism market after nearly two years.

"This weekend holiday has generated a good momentum, an opportunity for localities and businesses to practice, stabilize personnel and improve quality to welcome back tourists during the upcoming holiday at the end of April," Dung said.

The three-day weekend, including the Hung Kings commemoration day on Sunday, came a week after the Health Ministry announced that the Covid-19 pandemic showed signs of winding down in the country, with drops in infections, severe cases and deaths. It said the pandemic has been brought under control.

The Reunification Day and Labor Day fall during the weekend, which means people will have two extra days off, totalling a four-day break.

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