Demand for tourism during Tet surges
As well as the summer months, the end of winter and early spring is considered the peak season for tourism in Vietnam due to two major holidays falling during this period-the New Year holiday and Tet. With living standards and disposable incomes rising, the choice of tourist destinations to enjoy Tet holiday with friends and relatives is changing.
In response to the demand, from the beginning of September many travel companies, airlines and travel agents launch promotion programmes, special offers and discounts for domestic and international tours to serve the market during the New Year and Tet holiday.
This year’s holiday is relatively long, with four days for New Year and nine for the Lunar New Year, so the demand for tourism is high. Preferential policies will play an important role in stimulating demand for early-bird bookings, while at the same time helping travel companies to close a number of bookings early, accurately capturing the demand in terms of visitor numbers and giving visitors the best experience possible.
Although the number of tours sold already is high, the number of seats on the preferred departure days and times is always limited and these are only offered to early bird bookings. Therefore, many customers make their holiday plans and reservations early in order to take advantage of good tour prices and have more choice, while avoiding the situation of sold out flights or hotels or ramped up prices during the holiday period.
Hanoi resident Thanh Tung decided to book a trip to Thailand for the whole family on New Year’s Day, and by booking in early November enjoyed a special discount of VND800,000/person from the travel agent. Tung said, “In previous years, my family has travelled within the country, so this year we opted to travel abroad to welcome the new year. Due to the limited number of incentives, we have to book our tour early to save costs.”
According to the representative of Vietravel Hanoi, from mid-October, about 20-30% of visitors expressed their interest in the tour schedule for the New Year and Tet holiday. “Some customers began making plans in early September, but since the company had no official prices at that time, we asked for the customers’ information and agreed to contact them later,” said Pham Van Bay, deputy director of Vietravel Hanoi. He said the number of visitors booking tours for the 2019 Tet holiday is expected to increase by at least 30% over the same period last year.
Special tours for customers
In order to serve a range of tourists, travel companies have launched domestic and international tours with diverse and flexible departures. In the domestic tourism market, short trips from two to four days duration to popular destinations such as Moc Chau, Sapa, Ha Giang and Cao Bang to see peach blossoms in full bloom, or Nha Trang, Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa and Phu Quoc island to enjoy spring on the islands and coastal areas are proving popular.
Tours to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos ranging from four to five days duration, or longer trips to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Dubai, Egypt, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Europe, Australia and South Africa are also popular amongst many visitors.
The rise of tours using charter flights also creates a new attraction for the Tet holiday season 2019 due to low prices and the chance to have a new experience. Local tour operator Vietravel will conduct three types of tour using chartered flights to serve Vietnamese travellers who want to visit Japan, Bhutan or China during the coming Tet holiday 2019.
In particular, thanks to a support policy from Fukushima, twenty-three chartered flights will take travellers to explore the “Diamond Route Japan” going around three prefectures (Fukushima, Tochigi and Ibaraki), departing from February 2019.
Truong Thi Thu Giang, deputy director of Vietravel marketing department said, “Tours with chartered flights will have the best price in the market, saving up to 30% compared to conventional tours. We expect therefore that many tourists will opt for this kind of tour.”
Information from tour operators shows that the rate of tourists booking tours is about 60% foreign tourists and 40% domestic visitors. Tran Thi Bao Thu, marketing and communications director at Fiditour said, “The number of tour bookings for the 2019 Lunar New Year at Fiditour has already reached over 70% of the plan. Outbound tours are almost fully booked, especially long tours to places such as Europe, America, Australia or Taiwan (China) and Japan. The price of the tours for Tet holiday, depending on destination and departure date, will increase from 10-15%.”
Thu also said that a number of overseas Vietnamese visitors to Vietnam this year began booking tours in mid-October, focusing on trans-Vietnam tours. Most of them prefer domestic destinations departing after the third day of the Lunar New Year so they can spend time with family and relatives.
Some travel companies also prepare many attractive products to entice international tourists to Vietnam to welcome the new year. Phan Yen Ly, head of product development department of inbound division, Saigontourist said, “We have launched a unique tour ‘Foreigners celebrate Tet in Vietnam’. Foreign tourists will be taken before Tet to experience the bustling pre-Tet atmosphere and enjoy the Tet preparations of the people of the Mekong River Delta. On New Year’s day, foreign visitors can return to Ho Chi Minh City to stay with local families, visit the temple and enjoy traditional meals. This 10-day tour is very popular with foreigners.”