Travel firms were pleasantly surprised to see the long queues of travelers at the Hanoi Cultural Palace, where the fair was organized.
“Previously, at trade fairs, we could sell only a few low-cost tours to nearby markets such as tours to domestic destinations or Thailand. But things are different this year,” said Doan Thi Thanh Tra, marketing director of Saigontourist.
“We can now sell many products in Hanoi, including tours to Europe worth nearly VND100 million and tours to Cuba,” she said.
The tourism promotion program launched days before to open the new tourism season also attracted a lot of visitors. The opening ceremony began at 7 am, but travelers were present at 5 am to be able to book tours at good prices.
Han, 58, told reporters that he booked tours to Con Dao Island, the Repubic of Korea and Japan.
“I am booking several tours at once,” Han said, showing four passport books of family members, adding that his family set up tourism plans for the entire year earlier this year.
Domestic travelers now ‘VIP clients’
Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO of Vietravel, said while international markets have uncertainties and always require heavy investments, the domestic market is a vast and stable market with great potential to be exploited.
“Vietnamese travelers bring a large proportion of Vietravel’s total revenue,” Ky said.
As for Saigontourist, the revenue from Vietnamese makes up 76% of its total. The number of Vietnamese travelers booking outbound tours has been increasing by 30% per annum, while the figure is 18% for domestic destinations.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), 73.2 million people traveled to domestic destinations. The agency did not count the number of outbound travelers, but travel firms said the figures must be very high.
Commenting about the ‘taste’ of Vietnamese travelers, a tourism expert said that low pricing can attract travelers, but this is not enough.
The biggest revenue is from experienced travelers, who travel a lot and know how to choose tourism products worth their money, he said.
Tra of Saigontourist also said travelers are more knowledgeable now. The travelers booking low-cost tours are those traveling for the first time. The others are more concerned about the real value of products.