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Vietnamese city runs out of hotel rooms due to crowds of marathon participants

Saturday, March 27, 2021, 16:42 GMT+7
Vietnamese city runs out of hotel rooms due to crowds of marathon participants
A group of participants from Hanoi camp out due to a hotel room shortage during the 2021 Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship in Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province, Vietnam, March 26-28, 2021. Photo: Nguyen Hoang Linh / Tuoi Tre

Nearly 3,000 rooms at 105 hotels in Pleiku City in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Gia Lai have been fully occupied by participants in a large-scale marathon this weekend.

Many runners have failed to book a hotel room upon their arrivals in Pleiku, which is hosting the 2021 Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship from Friday to Sunday.

Being a top sporting event, the tournament has been integrated into Vietnam's official athletics competition system, offering a chance for amateur runners to win an opportunity to compete in the coming Southeast Asian Games scheduled for Hanoi between this November and December.

The race has attracted the participation of nearly 5,000 professional athletes, amateurs and foreigners living and working in Vietnam in the four distances of  5km, 10km, 21km, and 42km, not to mention thousands of their supporters and tourists who happen to visit Pleiku this weekend.

The sudden surge in demand has resulted in a serious room shortage in Pleiku.

All of nearly 3,000 rooms at 105 hotels in the city have been sold out, according to the marathon’s organizing board.

Many runners have had to camp out, while the others have stayed over at their acquaintances’ houses.

A group of participants from Hanoi camp out due to a hotel room shortage during the 2021 Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship in Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province, Vietnam, March 26-28, 2021. Photo: Nguyen Hoang Linh / Tuoi Tre
A group of participants from Hanoi camp out due to a hotel room shortage during the 2021 Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship in Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province, Vietnam, March 26-28, 2021. Photo: Nguyen Hoang Linh / Tuoi Tre

The situation has been even worsened as the marathon coincides the V-League 1 big game between Gia Lai’s home team Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC and Ho Chi Minh City FC to take place on Sunday.

Many members of the organizing board of the football tournament and reporters from other localities coming to Pleiku to cover the match have faced difficulty in finding accommodation in the city.

Not only hotel rooms, air tickets to Pleiku have been running out.

In this context, athletes from Hanoi had no choice but to fly from Hanoi to Buon Ma Thuot City in neighboring Dak Lak Province and then travel 180km by car to Pleiku. 

Likewise, Hung Nguyen, a supporter who wanted to buy a plane ticket from central Da Nang City to Pleiku to cheer up his friends competing at the marathon, had to drive for eight hours to timely arrive in the host city. 

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