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Vietnam’s Phu Quoc sees decline in tourists

Vietnam’s Phu Quoc sees decline in tourists

Saturday, September 09, 2023, 09:00 GMT+7
Vietnam’s Phu Quoc sees decline in tourists
Tourists visit Phu Quoc, an island city off Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

The number of tourists visiting Phu Quoc, an island tourist city off Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam, has recently fallen, even on holidays, forcing the local authorities to come up with urgent solutions to help the island attract travelers.

Luong Thi Ngoan, the owner of Ra Khoi Restaurant in Duong Dong Ward, Phu Quoc City, said the number of the restaurant’s customers during this year’s National Day (September 2) holiday plunged some 70 percent year on year.

The restaurant welcomed some 300 customers per day during this year’s holiday, well below the around 1,000 customers on the same occasion last year.

She suffered losses of some VND100 million (US$4,161) over the past month as the restaurant experienced a slump but still covered material costs and employees’ salaries.

The restaurant will consider launching promotional programs at the end of the year to lure foreign guests, Ngoan added.

Cuban and Thai travelers arrive in Phu Quoc. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre
Cuban and Thai travelers arrive in Phu Quoc. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

Phu Quoc is going through a slump due to the global economic downturn, while air fares to the island city remain high. Many domestic visitors have tightened their budgets on such expenditures. 

Tourists tend to travel to nearby tourist destinations. For example, tourists from Ho Chi Minh City have recently preferred visiting outlying Can Gio District, neighboring Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province, and Phan Thiet City in south-central Binh Thuan Province, Huynh Quang Hung, chairman of the People’s Committee of Phu Quoc City, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

He added that the number of tourists to the city during the National Day holiday was not as high as expected due to the unfavorable weather. Most domestic tourists visit the city in summer.

“The number of local tourists to Phu Quoc is falling. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many air carriers took Chinese travelers to Phu Quoc but air routes [between China and Phu Quoc] have yet to be reopened,” Hung noted, adding that the Russian market has not recovered as well due to difficulties in travel given the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.

Nguyen Hanh, who traveled to Phu Quoc on the National Day holiday, said “Returning to Phu Quoc after over 10 years, I saw fewer romantic and virgin beaches but concrete infrastructure instead. The city is like an artificial city rather than a place of natural landscapes.

To maintain Phu Quoc’s nice images in the eyes of tourists, the city has dealt with tourists’ complaints, according to Truong Cong Tam, chairman of the Phu Quoc Professional Tour Guide Association.

“Tourists who are victims of overcharging and swindling cases should report their experiences to the local authorities,” Tam said.

Khem Beach in An Thoi Ward, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre
Khem Beach in An Thoi Ward, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

Phu Quoc Chairman Hung said the provincial Tourism, Commerce and Investment Promotion Center, the Department of Tourism, and the Phu Quoc People’s Committee were working with the Phu Quoc Investment Tourism Development Association to come up with support policies or hold tourism promotion conferences to attract more international tourists, especially those from South Korea, China, Japan, and some other Asian countries.

Phu Quoc’s tourism will remain gloomy in the last months of the year as the city has yet to work out a systematic tourism promotion campaign, said Nguyen The Lam, chairman of the Phu Quoc Investment Tourism Development Association.

The city should have special and unique tourist products, such as tours to explore forests and golf tourism products.

Kien Giang Province welcomed 126,690 tourists during the four-day National Day holiday from September 1 to 4, tumbling 32.9 percent year on year.

The number of foreign visitors fell 21.3 percent and the average occupancy rate of lodging facilities in the province reached some 27 percent.

Phu Quoc City alone served over 62,500 tourist arrivals in the period, down 26.5 percent, including 5,700 international travelers.

The number of tourists staying overnight in the city reached 19,200 during the holiday, plummeting 38.6 percent, according to the Kien Giang Department of Tourism.

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Thanh Ha - Chi Cong - Son Lam - Nhu Binh / Tuoi Tre News

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