Complicated procedures, high fees hinder helicopter service development

VietNamNet Bridge – This could be a question to many people that why Vietnam has not thought of developing helicopter services when trying to develop tourism.

Vietnam, helicopter tours, travel firms, procedures, service fees

Vietnam has a lot of beautiful landscapes, including the maiden ones, which are very attractive in the eyes of foreign travelers. However, the destinations remain unreachable to many tourists who cannot bear trekking and venturous trips.

“There are too many obstacles for the traveling by air,” Vu The Binh, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, commented.

It’s not easy for many tourists to reach to the famous tourist sites. These include the Dong Van Stone Plateau in the northern province of Ha Giang. It takes travelers at least eight hours to travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang, and it would take more time if troubles, including the landslide which causes traffic jams, occur during the trips.

Tourists are told that they would have to spend 2.5 hours to go from Hanoi to the Ha Long Bay if following Highway No. 18. However, in many cases, it takes 3-4 hours.

“I know many VIP travelers cannot reach to the famous destination points because it takes too much time which makes them tired,” Binh said.

Cuong, an office worker, said he and group of friends, who like traveling, once had to give up a trip though they got halfway to Dong Van just because they felt too tired of waiting for the road to be cleared after an accident.

Binh said that flying to the tourist sites on helicopters is really a good solution for the VIP tourists who don’t have much time to go trekking, but have the financial capability to pay for high service fees. They are the rich people or businessmen.

In fact, Vietnamese agencies which program the tourism development, has been aware of the strong rise of touring with helicopters as a growing tendency in the world. They also understand that touring by air is a new touring style which can create new attractiveness to travelers at the famous tourist sites such as Ha Giang, Ha Long Bay, Cu Lao Cham (Cham Isle), My Son or Con Co Island.

However, to date, very few travel firms have designed the tours with helicopters, which, according to Binh, is because they would follow very complicated procedures that may discourage anyone.

“It would be a thorny path travel firms would have to follow to explain to the relevant agencies -- the details of the tours due to the current strict regulations on the security and the space management,” Binh said.

“This is the reason which makes it very difficult to develop the tours by air,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy, a senior executive of Exotissimo, believes that traveling by air has not been favored by tourists because the flight services still cannot satisfy them.

“The guest receiving points are far from the central area, the departure schedules are usually delayed, while tourists cannot have sufficient information, and the tourism products are not diversified enough,” Thuy said.

However, the biggest problem, according to Thuy, is that the helicopter service fees remain very high, even for the VIP tourists, who can easily compare the service fees in Vietnam with other regional countries. That is why travel firms remain not confident enough to offer the tours with helicopters.

Dang Bich Tho from Phoenix, which has been providing tours with helicopters since 1994, said she can see the big demand, and the thing that hinders the development of the service is the lack of the helicopters.

As far as Tho knows, Vietnam has 25 helicopters in total, but most of them focus on serving the MIA cooperation program which seeks US missing soldiers in Vietnam, or serving the oil and gas exploitation.


Vietnam, helicopter tours, travel firms, procedures, service fees