Outbound tourism grows, domestic segment weaker
More Vietnamese people tended to opt for outbound tours during recent holidays, while domestic travel fared poorer, according to HCMC’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Tourists pose for photos at the World Heritage site Jiuzhaigou Valley in
China’s Sichuan Province. More locals opt for outbound tours due to stable prices and quality.

Domestic segment posted a 10% year-on-year increase in bookings during the Reunification Day and International Labor Day while the bookings for outbound tours went up more than 30% from the same period last year. High and stable prices are the key factors making local visitors opt for outbound tours.

“The statistics are collected from 20 leading tour operators in HCMC. They not only reflect tour sales during the holidays but also point out common travel trend at the current time,” said an official of the department.

The prices of outbound tours taking in popular overseas destinations such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are only equal to prices of domestic tours to the central and Northern regions, driving up bookings for outbound tours.

The next reason is that outbound tour prices and service quality remain stable while tour operators and tourists face overcharging or surcharges in case of taking domestic tours during big holidays.

In addition, foreign tourism authorities have launched promotion campaigns highlighting their signature destinations appealing to Vietnamese travelers.

However, travel firms reported it was getting harder to sell package tours and long-haul tours due to the tough economy. Tourists arrange short-haul tours by themselves rather than book long-haul tours from travel agencies.

The report showed the best-selling tours are tours to Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang, Dalat, Phan Thiet and Con Dao Island. Tours taking in the Mekong Delta registered a 30% increase in bookings from last year.

The number of bookings of airborne tours to the Central and Northern destinations such as Hoi An, Danang and Hanoi sank by 40%. There are fewer tourists choosing tours traveling by air given higher transportation costs.

The prices of tours taking in the Central and Northern regions edged up 20-30% due to rising input costs. Specifically, transportation cost grew by 15%, while hotel room rates advanced 20-30% or even 100%, pushing up prices of those tours.

RoK airline helps promote Vietnam’s world heritage

Asiana Airlines of the Republic of Korea has pledged to promote Vietnam’s central region heritage sites on its international flights.

This is major focus of the project, “Promoting World Heritage sites in Vietnam’s Central Region” launched on May 8 in the Quang Nam central province’s Hoi An ancient town.

The project, funded by Asiana Airlines through the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) and UNESCO Hanoi office, aims to connect three World Heritage sites in the region, including Hue Monuments Complex in Hue city, Hoi An ancient town and My Son sanctuary in Quang Nam province.

Asiana Airlines will also fund solar energy lighting systems at all three sites, with the system in Hoi An scheduled to be put into operation this year.

At the launching ceremony, Tran Minh Ca, Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee, spoke highly of the support from Asiana Airlines, which launched a new route in December, 2011 linking the RoK capital, Seoul with Da Nang . He expressed his belief that thanks to the Asiana promotion, the world heritage site in the central region will be broadly presented to international tourists.

Ca said that with Hoi An ancient town, My Son Sanctuary and Cham Islands Biosphere Reserve, the province has received strong cooperation and support from international agencies, organisations and individuals on heritage site conservation and sustainable tourism development.