Friday, 08/04/2011 09:35

Q1 foreign arrivals top 1.5 million

With 1.51 million visitors, Viet Nam recorded a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in first quarter tourist arrivals, according to the General Statistics Office. The largest groups of visitors during this period were from China, South Korea, Japan, the US, Taiwan (China), Australia, Cambodia, France, Malaysia and the UK. The national tourism industry has set a target of welcoming 5.3 million foreign visitors and providing services to more than 30 million domestic tourists this year.

Steady growth in MICE tourism

HCM City-based travel firms have obtained very good results with MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) tours this year. The Saigontourist Travel Service Co. arranged tours for over 10,000 MICE tourists, including local visitors, in the first quarter of 2011. It is currently handling a group of 50 tourists from Ukraine on a two-week visit to Ha Noi, Ha Long, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and HCM City in Viet Nam and Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Fiditour says MICE tourists account for 30 per cent of the number of visitors the company has received this year, while Vietravel says it has received over 11,000 MICE tourists over the past three years, a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent.

Ha Long to hold Tourism Week

The Ha Long Tourism Week 2011 that will be celebrated at the famous bay in Quang Ninh Province from April 28-May 1, will feature a series of festivities supporting the bid for Ha Long Bay to be one of seven new natural wonders of the world this year.

Cultural and artistic events including a poetry night and a food festival, an international beach volleyball contest as well as a trade fair will be held during the Ha Long Tourism Week.

The highlight of the week will be the Ha Long Carnival and a public street party on the night of May 1 at the Bai Chay Beach. Organisers said the carnival has been designed to revive several local cultural traditions.

Tour prices rise by 5-10 per cent

Local travel agencies are set to raise prices of tours during the coming peak season, from October to March, by five to 10 per cent to offset rising costs. Tour operators say a sharp increase in transportation fees due to higher fuel prices and inflation has made the price-rise inevitable.

Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Indochina Trails Co., said her company's tour prices may go up by 10 per cent in the next season.

But overseas partners have asked local travel agencies why tour prices in Viet Nam are being hiked while those in neighbouring countries including Thailand remain stable, according to Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink.

According to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, the country welcomed 476,000 foreign visitors in March, a year-on-year increase of five per cent.

May Day holiday flights fully booked

Travelers are complaining that they are not able to book flights to popular tourism destinations like Nha Trang, Da Nang and Phu Quoc during the April 30-May 1 holidays.On March 18, Vietnam Airlines announced on its website that flights from HCM City and Ha Noi to Da Nang on April 28, 29 and 30 were fully booked. Passengers will have to take business class tickets on the late flight from Ha Noi to Da Nang for VND2.1 million per ticket. All flights of the national carrier on this route for April 29 and 30 are fully booked.

Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong have also reported that tickets on some routes are running out. Passengers booking tickets for flights prior to April 28 or after April 30 will still be able to get some seats on the flights from HCM City and Ha Noi to Da Nang with Jetstar Pacific if they book the most expensive tickets at VND1.1 million per passenger. — VNS

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