Several travel firms launched their 2024 Lunar New Year (Tet) tour offers at the start of this quarter without waiting for the official announcement of the holiday schedule by the Vietnamese government.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh recently approved a plan to allow public employees to take a seven-day Lunar New Year holiday from February 8 to 14, 2024, according to an announcement recently released by the Government Office.
Prior to the announcement, many tourists had prearranged their holiday trips, complete with itineraries and departure dates, according to Doan Thi Thanh Tra, director of marketing and communications at Saigontourist Travel Service.
The favorite days of departure for many tourists are the second and fourth days of the first lunar month, which fall on February 11 and 13, respectively.
Long-distance tours preferred
In order to better understand and fulfill market demands, Saigontourist Travel Service conducted a survey with a sample pool of over 500,000 tourists during more than 20 events and tourism fairs.
“The results showed that tourists are most concerned about the three factors of tour itineraries, quality of service, and tour prices,” Tra shared.
“The market is deeply fragmented in times of economic unrest.”
Saigontourist Travel Service, guided by the survey results, introduced several new luxury tours, like an 11-day journey through Brazil and Argentina from February 8, as well as a 13-day cruise spanning Italy, Malta, and Spain aboard the world-class cruise MSC World Europa, with prices reaching up to VND140 million (US$5,762), among others.
Nguyen Minh Man, head of communications and marketing at TST Tourist Service and Trading Corporation, said that their plans to prioritize long-distance tours to destinations like the U.S., Europe, and Australia are showing promising signs.
Conversely, medium- and short-distance tours offered by this agency are experiencing slower sales.
Heightened demand for domestic travel during Tet has led to price hikes for domestic tours, leaving tourists increasingly favoring outbound tours, according to Tran Thi Bao Thu, marketing and communications director of Fiditour-Vietlux.
Thu noted that tour prices for the upcoming Lunar New Year have risen by approximately five to 15 percent.
“Tour operators have maintained affordable prices for tours by establishing early booking agreements with business partners and striking a balance between profits and service quality, taking into account customers’ price sensitivity,” Thu said.
Domestic tours stand a chance
Lately, controversies related to soaring domestic airfare prices have eroded the competitive edge of domestic tours, according to Thu.
Conversely, during peak periods, international airfare prices increase, but tour rates remain relatively stable, simplifying the development of promotional strategies for travel businesses.
“Ensuring price stability can be the pivotal factor in helping domestic tours regain their competitive edge, particularly by averting frequent price hikes across various aspects, such as tickets, accommodations, and dining,” Thu said.
|Tourists go on a domestic tour in Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre|
Thi Quoc Duy, director of travel company BenThanh Tourist, pointed out that well-organized and affordable domestic tours still have a standing in the market, usually for tourists with a more traditional mindset who prefer celebrating the Lunar New Year with their families.
Therefore, local authorities and tour operators must be prudent to avoid overcrowding and multiple price surges.
Tra from Saigontourist Travel Service shared that the firm has continued to offer numerous domestic tours that have remained popular with both local and overseas Vietnamese tourists over the past two decades.
These tours include one- or two-day trips to the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, allowing travelers to explore the flower village in Sa Dec City and tangerine farms in Lai Vung District of Dong Thap Province, as well as My Tho City and Thoi Son Islet in Tien Giang Province.
Beware of fraudulent tours
Recently, numerous tourists have reported instances of newly-established travel agencies inundating social media with numerous pictures of successful outbound tours.
However, it has come to light that these agencies lack the required licenses for international tour organization, physical offices, and employees.
They make contact with potential tourists via online platforms and demand full payment, only to disappear before the scheduled departure date.
In a recent case, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism received a report on EUtourist, a travel company that had accepted over VND1.2 billion ($49,425) to arrange a five-day tour to China for 64 tourists who are members of the Printing Association of Ho Chi Minh City.
However, the company failed to fulfill its obligations and initial assessments indicate fraud and property appropriation.
EUtourist had previously been reported by TST Tourist travel company for copying their website and exhibiting signs of unfair competition.