A cooperation programme between aviation companies and tour
operators to stimulate domestic tourism has yet to pay off as the number of
holiday-makers did not increase as much as expected.
High tour prices
Summer is the peak season for tourism, and travel operators do not want to
miss out on this golden chance, so they launched big promotions to attract more
In an attempt to stimulate domestic tourism, aviation and travel companies are
cooperating to capitalise on this market by offering up to 49 percent discounts
for domestic tours.
However, domestic tours are much more expensive than those to other destinations
in Southeast Asia. Surveys by Vietravel, Hanoitourist, and Saigontourist show
that only one domestic tour with a flight is booked every week compared to three
to Bangkok, Thailand.
According to travel agencies, hotel room services and airfares are the two most
important factors in determining whether their tours are booked. Yet travel
agencies insist that they work very hard to negotiate service costs, especially
hotel room rates, with their partners.
Nguyen Minh Man, head of the Vietravel communications division, points out one
difficulty in negotiating with hotel managers, saying these hotels are privately
owned and room rates fluctuate frequently.
Luu Duc Ke, Hanoitourist director, says travel agencies have no choice but to
team up with each other to enter negotiations with hotel managers. Without
introducing a common pricing policy, it will be hard for hotels and tour
operators to find a common voice.
In the face of the current economic slowdown, consumers have tightened their
belts, and the tourism industry has fallen victim to this financial crunch.
Following Vietnam Airlines’ lead, other aviation companies such as VietJet Air,
Air Mekong, and Jestar Pacific have responded to the tourism stimulus programme
in the northern region. Sixteen tour operators have committed to the programme
to offer consumers better choices.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, vice director of Hanoi Redtour, says the tourism demand is
declining because of the economic slowdown, and policies by major aviation
companies to stimulate the market will help tour operators lower costs, which
should fuel the domestic tourism market. Such policies could lower tour prices
by as much as 35 percent.
Hoan’s view is echoed by Trinh Huu Long, director of the four-star Golden Dragon
hotel in Nha Trang, who says he supports the cooperation programme, because it
benefits both service providers and users.
Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tour Operators Association, confirms that
the cooperation programme between aviation companies, travel agencies and hotels
is a good start in the efforts to attract more visitors to the northern region
and make Vietnam a friendly destination in foreigner’s eyes.