TRAVEL NEWS IN BRIEF 21/6

Vietnam Air to start Danang-Seoul service next month

Vietnam Airlines will launch the air route connecting Danang and South Korea’s Seoul on July 1 with two flights per week on Mondays and Thursdays, according to the carrier’s Southern Region Branch.

Vietnam Airlines is currently offering promotional return tickets at VND5.67 million, exclusive of taxes and surcharges, for Danang-Seoul flights departing before December 31, said Nguyen Van Thinh, deputy head of the air carrier’s Southern Region Branch.

The carrier has since April opened the direct flight connecting Cam Ranh in Khanh Hoa Province with Moscow. This route is regarded as one of the potential ones amid the current tough competition on the international aviation market.

Thinh said Vietnam Airlines was aiming at air routes of huge growth potential.

“The aviation market is in fierce competition, especially for international routes, while no growth is recorded on the domestic market. As a result, we decided to open potential routes such as HCMC-Thanh Hoa and Nha Trang-Moscow as well as increase the frequencies of advantageous flights like the direct ones to Frankfurt and Paris,” Thinh said.

According to Thinh, with the advent of more international airlines in Vietnam, the price competition has become tougher as many airlines with good cash flows are selling tickets at low prices. Among international airlines, those coming from the Middle East are formidable opponents due to their great financial resources and new, big aircraft fleets.

Regarding the domestic market, Thinh said that the operation of domestic flights was not easy amid the current situation. Despite a growth of 10-12% per year in the past decade, the market did not grow last year and is forecast to remain gloomy this year. Therefore, airfares of domestic flights have also declined, he added.

Tourism industry targets RoK visitors

The Republic of Korea is one of Vietnam’s key tourism markets, with more than 700,000 visiting Vietnam last year alone, doubling the 2009 figure.

Vietnam’s tourism industry has responded by prioritising the RoK market in its development strategy for the 2011­­–2020 period.

Ha Long City and Ho Chi Minh City are especially favoured by RoK visitors thanks to their reasonable prices and renowned tourist destinations.

Ha Van Sieu, Head of the Institute for Tourism Development Research (ITDR), said RoK tourism’s high seasons are in January, July, and August.

Statistics show that from 2000–2005, the daily average spending of a RoK tourist in Vietnam was US$96.9—a little lower than that from Japan (US$99.4), but much higher than a US tourist (US$74.1).

The average RoK tourist’s spending has now jumped to US$527.9 if on a full package tour and US$259.9 if traveling independently.

The sudden surge in the number of RoK travelers to Vietnam shows Vietnamese services are able to satisfy their quality demands.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said RoK visitors were attracted to Vietnam because the government has offered RoK citizens holding regular passports 15 day visa exemptions.

Vietnam and the RoK share many cultural similarities and the two countries’ ties, especially economically, have only multiplied. In October 2009, the two governments lifted the status of their relations to a strategic partnership.

Vietnam’s proximity to the RoK also makes travel easier and more convenient.  

To lure more RoK tourists, the VNAT will coordinate with related agencies to offer tourism services tailored to the RoK people’s taste. It will also launch an official Korean language website promoting domestic tourism.

In addition to organising annual cultural and tourism events in the RoK itself, the tourism industry will survey the market to plan future promotions in both Vietnam and the RoK.

It will employ RoK citizens currently living in Vietnam to work as translators, managers, and administrators for domestic outbound tour operators.

Malaysia promotes tourism in HCM City

The Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board launched a marketing campaign in HCM City on June 20, in an effort to attract more Vietnamese visitors to its country.

“Visit Malaysia 2014 Roadshow” aims to promote cultural exchange and cooperation between Vietnamese and Malaysian businesses, with a particular focus on those operating travel and tourism services. They are expected to offer both countries’ businesses the chance to introduce tourism products, negotiate trade partnerships, and jointly organise seminars and trade fairs.

The event features many tour operators, travel agents, and hotels, including Vietnam’s Saigontourist, Viettravel, Fiditour, and Hanoi Tourist, and Malaysia’s Marine Discovery Holidays, Sunway Lagoon, and Ibis Styles KL Cheras.

The Board’s Director Mohd Akbal Setia said the ongoing events will help boost the two countries’ tourism cooperation and increase the number of tourists traveling between Vietnam and Malaysia.

The Roadshow introduced Vietnamese attendees to many enticing Malaysian services and destinations, a number of which are currently discounted.

Tourists claim VAT refunds worth $571,000 on purchases as they leave the country

As of May 2013, 11 months after a VAT refund progamme was launched, just 3,700 foreign tourists had availed themselves of VAT refunds worth VND12 billion (US$571,000) on their purchases as they left the country via Ha Noi's Noi Bai and HCM City's Tan Son Nhat international airports.

Under a pilot programme approved by the Prime Minister, foreign visitors and overseas Vietnamese are entitled to VAT refunds on purchases made in the country when they leave via the two major international airports.

In order to get the refund, receipts worth at least VND2 million ($100) apiece should be presented at the VAT refund counter at the airports. The pilot programme will end on June 30, 2014.

Da Nang offers adventure, paragliding, eating and drinking contests to attract more visitors

From June 28 to July 3, tourists to Da Nang will have an opportunity to take part in many fun activities including non-motorised paragliding, coracle rides in the sea, and eating and drinking contests.

The activities are part of the "Da Nang - Summer rendezvous" programme that will be held at the East Sea Park in Son Tra District.

The Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism says the programme will also include South Korean artists performing music with kitchen appliances and an "art football festival" featuring athletes from six Asian countries.

Tourists can also participate in a 200m swimming race, a 2,000m running race, a coracle shaking competition, a marathon and eating and drinking contests.

Source: VOV/ND/SGGP/VNA/VNS
da nang, festival, vat refund, tourists
 
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