Big tourism promotion campaign in the pipeline
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will launch a tourism campaign touting Vietnam as an astonishingly safe, hospitable and fascinating international travel destination.
The ministry will host an international press briefing on ensuring security, safety and hospitality for visitors and presenting free tourism packages to foreign tourists to Vietnam from June through September 2014.
It will invite delegations of foreign travelers and reporters to join trans-Vietnam tours in an effort to provide complete, accurate and transparent information about tourism in the country.
It will particularly focus on attracting delegations from markets which have witnessed declines in the number of visitors.
World Cup Brazil overextends Vietnamese tourists’ budgets
Many Vietnamese travel companies said that it’s difficult to organise tours to Brazil because of the high cost and the language barrier.
Organised tours to Brasil can cost Vietnamese tourists VND200-300 million (USD9,500-14,300) at this time. Perfect Tours Travel, one of the few companies organising such tours to Brazil, said they only planned one trip to Brazil for the event. Another travel agency in HCM City said only one or two out of 100 customers were willing to make the deposit on a trip to Brazil.
A representative of Vietravel Company said they held a 16-day trip for 30 customers. The tour’s destinations included Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with a night’s stay along the Amazon River. Their timings were organised so that it would coincide with World Cup’s quarter finals, semi-finals and the finals.
A ticket from Vietnam to Brazil alone costs USD3,000, about the same price tourists must pay for a 9-day European trip. It takes 27 hours to fly from Vietnam to Rio de Janeiro, meaning that Vietnamese travellers would have to, in effect, plan for a seven-day trip for only a four-day stay.
Most of Vietnamese travel agencies and potential tourists are reluctant due to visa application procedures and the language barrier.
Although FIFA has sent English-speaking tour guides to Brazil, their number is few. Most hotels have also been fully booked as the event approaches, making it difficult for Vietnamese tour agencies to guarantee rooms close to the stadium.
According to Nguyen The Khai, Director of Perfect Tours Travel, they havespent over a month to research various countries in South America, including Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Peru in order to organise the most suitable tours for the World Cup 2014.
Ba Na cable-car ranked as one of world’s most amazing rides
The Ba Na cable car in the central city of Da Nang has been listed as one of the world’s amazing rides on the website of the Telegraph, an English newspaper, www.telegraph.co.uk.
The cable car is the world’s longest single-cable cable car. It links Vong Nguyet Hill near the city of Da Nang and Ba Na Mountain, a journey of more than three miles.
The website said that “another cable car is planned that would connect the sleepy hill station of Sapa in the northwestern province of Lao Cai with the top of Mount Fansipan, Indochina’s tallest peak.”
The Ba Na cable car, the most modern of its kind in the country, has been recognised by many world records because of its length.
Summer Destination Week to kick off holidays in central city
Chefs from Hue, Hoi An and Da Nang, will start the annual competition that kicks off the Summer Destination Week at the central city’s East Sea Park next Friday.
Each competitor will cook four dishes – appetizer, meat, seafood and dessert – within 150 minutes. As scheduled, a series of programmes will be held in the city to promote tourism from June 20 to 27.
The park is also a venue for a photo exhibition of nature and landscape, a vintage Vespa scooter display, street dance, bar tending, flashmob bikini and a fashion show.
My Khe beach, one of the world beautiful beaches, will host water-motor, jet-ski, triathlon and kayak races. A quick eating and drinking contest will also make its debut at the park.
As many as 35 fliers will join a paragliding race on Son Tra Peninsula on June 27.
Do Son attracts 1.1m visitors in five months
In the first five months of this year, about 1.1 million domestic and foreign visitors visited Do Son, a famous beach in the northern coastal Hai Phong City, an increase of over two per cent compared with last year.
To attract more tourists, the local authority has strengthened its management, ensuring security and improving tourism services.
More tourists pay visit to sites in Quang Binh Province
More than 1.5 million visitors arrived in central Quang Binh Province for its cavern system and burial site of General Giap in the first six months of the year.
An increase of 300,000 tourists compared to the same period last year, according to the provincial People’s Committee.
The increase is due to the rise in the number of Vietnamese citizens across the country visiting the burial site of the national hero General Giap in Vung Chua area. The management unit at the site estimated that the general’s grave receives 2,000-3,000 visitors per day owing to their love for General Giap as well as the scenic view at the site.
The locality is also a favourite destination to tourists from North American and European countries, Australia, Japan and Korea for its cavern system.
In May alone, 39 caves were discovered by experts from the British Royal Cave Association and the Ha Noi National University’s College of Natural Sciences, and these caves are expected to lure more tourists to the province during the remaining period of the year.
Da Lat to host Tourism Year
With the National Tourism Year 2014 focusing on the Central Highlands – Da Lat, the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region offers many tourism activities this summer.
“Central Highlands Exciting Summer” is the theme of the tourism year for summer and most of its activities are centred on Da Lat, dubbed as the city of flowers.
Besides traditional tours to popular sightseeing sites like Love Valley, King Bao Dai’s Palace, Prenn and Cam Ly waterfalls in Da Lat, Lam Dong Province, also offers adventure tours, sports, and other outdoor activities like climbing and camping this summer.
Between June and August Da Lat will witness several activities like a Central Highlands Culture and Tourism Exhibition, Central Region and Central Highlands Culinary Festival, Viet Nam Film Week, Childhood Summer Festival, and a summer festival called “Rain in Mountain City”.
Other Central Highlands provinces – Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum – also offer tours exploring forests, lakes, and mountains and homestay in ethnic villages.
Ha Long Bay rated in Agoda top 8
Ha Long Bay ranks fourth in the list of top eight green places and national parks in Asia, according to a survey by the Asia’s hotel booking sites Agoda.com.
According to the travellers’ survey, Ha Long Bay is so impressive that it has warranted consistently high ratings. It is one of Viet Nam’s most popular tourist destinations, and has won awards and titles for its beauty.
It was recognised as a World Natural Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1994 and 2000. Swiss New Open World organisation named Ha Long Bay as one of the new seven wonders of nature in 2012.
Others destinations in the list are Hallasan National Park in South Korea; Taroko National Park in Taiwan; Osaka Castle Park in Japan; Ang Thong National Marine Park and Khao Yai National Park in Thailand; Penang National Park in Malaysia; and Rizal Park in Manila.
HCM City plan stamps out smoking
In HCM City, 390 hotels and restaurants have become smoke-free zones as part of a municipal programme to create non-smoking environments in restaurants and hotels unveiled two years ago.
Most four- to five-star hotels and restaurants seriously enforce the non-smoking rule, according to the Health Education and Information Centre.
Cuc Phuong offers summer delights
Summer is an ideal time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park, the country’s oldest, with its quiet and cool and animals and plants, including some old trees measuring five meters across.
Located in Ninh Binh Province and around 120km from Ha Noi, the 25,000ha park offers a slew of activities like camping, trekking through forests, birdwatching, exploring caves, and kayaking.
With 308 species of birds, Cuc Phuong has among the largest number in the north.
The park is also the home of Muong ethnic people. Visitors can see Muong houses on stilts, terraced fields, rice mortars, and looms for weaving brocade as well as their dances and songs.
AirAsia resumes Kuala Lumpur-Danang route
Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia has announced that it will resume the air route between Kuala Lumpur-Danang, flying on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
It will offer a discount on single airfares from Kuala Lumpur to Danang, starting from RM99 between August 29, 2014 and July 31, 2015.
Ticket booking lasts from June 5-15, 2014.
AirAsia launched a direct flight between the two destinations on December 16, 2011, but terminated the route as of June 10, 2013 to rearrange the schedule.
Besides Danang, AirAsia is conducting flights to HCM City and Hanoi of Vietnam.
Mekong Delta receives 11 million visitors
The Mekong Delta has received 11 million visitors this year, an increase of 9 percent over the same period last year, according to the Mekong Delta Tourism Association.
Total turnover reached VND2,566 billion (US$121 million), up 27 percent year on year.
The number of international tourists increased 16 percent totaling 803,700.
Tien Giang Province attracted most international visitors with 264,000 people. Kien Giang yielded highest tourism revenue with VND647 billion (US$30.41 million).
Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, and Long An have seen strongest growth in the number of visitors.
The most outstanding destination is eco-garden modal in Phong Dien District, Can Tho City, which has been chosen to be a delta’s particular tourist product.
Heavy summer discounts lure tourists to Da Lat
As many as 19 travel agencies operating in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong’s Da Lat have offered promotion programmes for their services in a bid to attract more holiday-makers to the resort city in this year’s summer months.
Accordingly, the price of entrance tickets to many tourism sites, including Thung Lung Vang (Yellow Valley) and Prenn and Cam Ly waterfalls, have been reduced up to 50 percent. Meanwhile, a 10 percent discount rate is also being offered for those taking package tours to Bidoup National Park and the Dam B’Ri waterfall tourism site.
Several resort areas and big hotels in Da Lat are also providing discounted accommodation to visitors during the summer.
Many new products and services, including outdoor and venture sporting activities, are also being adopted to meet the leisure demands of tourists.
From June to August this year, a wide range of cultural events, including an exhibition on Central Highland culture, a food festival, a Vietnamese film week and a traditional musical festival, are being held in the city in the hope of luring more visitors.
A robust increase in the number of visitors to the city has been recorded from early this month.
In May, the city received over 208,000 arrivals, up 14.4 percent against the same period last year. Of the number, foreign holiday-makers accounted for 13,000, a year-on-year increase of 38.4 percent.
Thai VietJetAir to launch services in Q3
Thai VietJetAir, an airline venture between Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co. (VietJetAir) and its Thai partner, is proceeding with a plan to launch services in the third quarter of this year, the Saigon Times Daily reported.
A leader of VietJetAir confirmed the plan when reached by the Daily after the no-frills carrier took delivery of more Airbus A320 aircraft to meet surging summer travel demand on the domestic market and facilitate future expansion.
VietJetAir has expanded its all-Airbus-A320 fleet to 15 last week when it took delivery of three new jetliners. The second largest carrier in Vietnam after the nation’s flagship Vietnam Airlines plans to take delivery of three more aircraft toward the end of this year when the low-cost airline joint venture launches its services.
One year ago, VietJetAir inked a memorandum of understanding with Kan Air to form an aviation joint venture headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, with registered capital of some 6.5 million USD. The Vietnamese side owns 49 percent of this venture.
VietJetAir told the Daily after the deal signing last year that Thai VietJetAir had plans to operate domestic and international flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport this year, with two to three Airbus A320s.
The joint venture is part of part of VietJetAir’s strategy to expand its operations in Asia and offer more options for passengers, particularly those in Vietnam and Thailand, to travel to Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and other destinations in the region.
VietJetAir started to fly in Vietnam in December 2011 before launching daily service between Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok in February last year and the Hanoi-Bangkok route in June in the same year. Currently, the carrier conducts more than 700 domestic and international flights a week.
VietJetAir said the three new Airbus A320 aircraft would enable it to provide the market with more than 37,800 seats a week in summer, particularly for those routes to tourist sites in coastal areas. In late May, the airline commenced flights between Hanoi and Phu Quoc Island off mainland Kien Giang province.
Earlier, Vietnam Airlines said it would operate 2,717 more flights with more than 500,000 seats on 16 domestic and international routes from June 15 to August 15. Seating capacity of the airline in this period is put at 4.2 million, up more than 14 percent compared to normal days and 17 percent over the same period last year.
Hanoi: Vacationers prefer domestic tours this summer
Hanoi-based travel agencies report that local holiday-makers have shifted their attention to domestic destinations this summer instead of choosing out-bound tours like in previous years, which is a positive sign for the tourism sector.
Many companies saw booking of domestic tours increase by at least 10 percent from last year, such as Vietravel Hanoi, Hanoi Red Tours, Vietrantour, Hanoitourist and Vietnamtourist.
While beach tours to traditional destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc are a constant favourite for holiday makers in summer, travel agencies this year offer a number of new destinations thanks to the opening of new air services. Beautiful and almost untouched beaches in the central provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Quang Ngai and Ninh Thuan attract a lot of attention.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy Director General of Hanoi Red Tours said his company has developed many new tours this year, with its tours to Tuy Hoa in Phu Yen province as a highlight, as the company has reached agreement with airlines to offer 30 percent discount in flight costs.
Meanwhile, Vietravel Hanoi is promoting new tours combining relaxation and discovery, such as Nha Trang-Buon Me Thuot and Quang Binh-Vinh. In addition, tours to the south-western region during the flood season promise to give vacationers a peaceful and relaxed time picking fruits in orchards and riding boats on rivers to watch sunrise or sunset.
Travel agencies also affirmed that tour prices will stay stable this year as they have coordinated with airlines and hotels to promote domestic destinations.
Big tourism promotion campaign in the pipeline