A large number of hotels in Da Lat, the capital city of Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands, have increased their room rates by anywhere from 100 to 250 percent, as tourists flock to admire the annual flower festival.
Many tourists have complained that they have been unable to book rooms at reasonable rates to partake in the Da Lat Flower Festival, set to run from December 29, 2015 to January 2, 2016.
Several hotels have announced that they either run out of rooms or simply adjusted their rates to a significantly higher price than usual, despite local authorities' commitment to prevent this situation from occurring.
Prices have been found skyrocketing by 100 to 250 percent.
Hoang Thao Hotel on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, whose rates have been doubled, only has about two vacant rooms left.
All rooms in Gia Khang Hotel on Bui Thi Xuan Street are fully booked between December 31 and January 1, 2016, although the rate has increased to VND1.139 million (US$50.57) per night, according to the hotel’s staff.
Room rates in several establishments on Bui Thi Xuan, Le Thi Hong Gam and others have also risen by an average of 100 to 200 percent, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters said.
Only a minority of these hotels actually listed the increased rates or provided the necessary information to visitors so they could remain updated, the correspondents reported.
Room prices at higher rated hotels, however, surged by only 30 to 50 percent, as these establishments generally have a more stable income year round due to their cooperation with travel agencies.
“Over 95 percent of our rooms have been booked for the five days of the festival and we have increased our rates for two nights by no more than 30 percent,” said Nguyen Trung Hieu from four-star hotel Sai Gon Da Lat.
Around 70,000 people are expected to gather in the city to partake in the 2015 Da Lat Flower Festival, Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, deputy head of the Lam Dong Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told Tuoi Tre.
About 40,000 rooms in 800 hotels in Da Lat are anticipated to provide enough accommodation for tourists, Ngoc said.
However, the number of travelers could be higher than expected as the festival falls on the New Year holiday, she explained.
All the adjusted rates must be publicized in order for tourists to report on being charged anything higher than what is listed, the official added.
According to regulations on the adjustment of room rates, hoteliers are obligated to register a fixed price at the city’s General Department of Taxation, said departmental deputy head Huynh Ba Ngoc.
However, no specific limits on rate increases have been stipulated for hotel managers to follow, and there is no legal basis for authorities to impose punishment upon violating facilities, he said.
To deter hotels from overcharging visitors, the People’s Committee in Da Lat has opened a telephone hotline (0941 245 245), managed by Vice Chairman Ton Thien San, for tourists to contact and report cases of over-inflated room rates.
Visitors can also contact the city’s tourist support center at 0633 725 555 and 0633 653 333.