Vietnamese tours to Northeast Asia bustle on first day of holiday

By Phuong Anh   April 27, 2024 | 11:00 pm PT
Tours from Vietnam to South Korea, China, and Japan were fully booked from mid-April, bustling with the departures of thousands of travelers on Saturday, the first day of the five-day Reunification Day holiday.

Waiting to check in for her flight to Taiwan at Hanoi's Noi Bai airport on Saturday afternoon, Bich Loan, a 32-year-old woman from the northern city of Hai Phong, expressed excitement and nerves about her first trip abroad.

She initially considered spending the holiday in the coastal city of Da Nang with her mother and sister. However, she changed her mind after seeing the high domestic flight prices.

Loan and her family were not the only travelers to switch from domestic to international tours during this holiday period. Tran Thi Bao Thu, marketing director at travel agency Vietluxtour, explained that the spike in domestic flight prices pushed up the cost of domestic tours, leading 60-70% of their agency’s clients to opt for international tours.

Vietluxtour had over 30 tours heading to China departing on Saturday, with each group having at least 30 people.

"We had a similar number of groups departing the day before," said Thu, adding that the number of travelers departing Sunday is expected to be "no less."

Vietnamese tourists depart for Taiwan from Hanois Noi Bai airport on the morning of April 27, 2024. Photo by Redtours Flamingo

Vietnamese tourists depart for Taiwan from Hanoi's Noi Bai airport on the morning of April 27, 2024. Photo by Redtours Flamingo

Travel agency Trang An Travel is also set to take nearly 1,000 clients on tours to China during this holiday, including over 300 on road trips and the remaining, divided into 30 groups, by air.

Nguyen Thanh Thu, a 38-year-old tour guide from Ho Chi Minh City, specializing in tours departing from Vietnam to international destinations, mentioned that she and her colleagues were fully booked for the holiday.

One of the tours she accompanied during this period is a six-day and five-night trip for a group of 15 Vietnamese people to China’s Fenghuang Ancient City, starting on Saturday.

She noted that there was currently a shortage of Chinese guides who speak Vietnamese to serve Vietnamese people’s high demands of traveling to China.

Japan, South Korea, and China are the destinations with the highest growth in tour purchases compared to last year, according to statistics from many travel companies.

According to Dutchtravel app Booking, the three countries were highly ranked among the top 10 international destinations booked by Vietnamese travelers for the holiday, with check-in dates between April 26 and May 1.

Nguyen Huu Cuong, general director of travel agency Trang An Travel, reported about a 20% increase in his company’s bookings for South Korea, China, and Japan tours departing during the holiday, compared to the same period last year. Compared to the Lunar New Year holiday in February, the number of tours of this group surged by 15%.

Cuong also said his company’s Northeast Asia tours for the Reunification Day holiday were fully booked from April 24, with certain tours even sold out since the beginning of the month. The road trip tours to China were fully booked from mid-month.

"This year, most Asian travel markets have fully recovered, offering guests more options, thus leading to more outbound travel," he said.

Yoshida Kenji, head of the Japan National Tourism Organization in Vietnam, said that this year’s number of Vietnamese travelers to Japan increased compared to 2023, thanks to the availability of more charter flights connecting Vietnam with various provinces like Kagoshima, Kagawa, and Fukushima.

Thu also noted that the Northeast Asia tours her company operated saw an increase of around 25% compared to the same period in 2023.

"These tours are always the stars in the list of overseas destinations chosen by Vietnamese clients at our company," she added.

Vietnamese travelers waiting at the Vietnam-China border gate to enter China on the morning of April 27, 2024 at the northern province of Lao Cai. Photo by Hoang Viet Travel

Vietnamese travelers waiting at the Vietnam-China border gate to enter China on the morning of April 27, 2024, at the northern province of Lao Cai. Photo by Hoang Viet Travel

A tour to South Korea, departing on April 30 and spanning a duration of five days and four nights, costs from VND13.8 million (US$545). A tour to Japan that lasts for six days, and five nights starts at VND29.4 million. Meanwhile, the prices for tours to China vary widely, from under VND5 million to over VND20 million, due to the diversity of destinations and means of travel.

Besides these destinations, European and Southeast Asian destinations like Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia are also popular choices for Vietnamese travelers. Such tours attract many customers on regular days, not just during holidays.

Despite the surge in flight prices, domestic travel still attracted a higher number of clients than international travel this Reunification Day holiday, according to Thu.

Groups traveling to domestic destinations often number from hundreds to thousands of people, in contrast to the smaller groups of only tens of travelers going to overseas destinations.

"High domestic flight prices remain a challenge for domestic tourism not only during the Reunification Day period but also throughout the summer peak season," Cuong said.

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