Domestic tourism sees low sales
By Dao Loan - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Some 30 HCMC-based travel firms that participated in a promotion program recorded lower-than-expected sales despite big promotions to boost domestic tourism had been launched two months ago.
The domestic tourism stimulus program was initiated by the HCMC Tourism Association (HTA) and Vietnam Airlines. Vietjet Air later joined the program and offered a 40-49% discount on airfares so that tour operators can arrange domestic tours 30% cheaper than regular levels.
Although the number of tour operators joining the program surged to 29 from the initial 19, the number of tour packages sold so far stayed low, at 1,200 during two months.
“Air carriers can provide more tickets. However, travel agencies witness low sales as tourists bemoan tour prices remain high despite promotions and they prefer outbound tours,” said Nguyen Thi Khanh, vice chairwoman of the tourism association.
Despite the promotions, it still remains hard for domestic tours to compete with overseas tours to neighboring countries.
For instance, a participant sells a three-day tour to Phu Quoc Island at VND5.89 million, down from VND6.50 million owing to the promotion, while a four-day tour to Cambodia is sold at over VND3 million only. This makes the latter more attractive to travelers.
HTA in coordination with HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will call for service providers to slash their charges further in a bid to offer lower tour prices. “We hope sales performance will improve in the peak-season month of July and we will continue to cut prices to woo more clients,” said Khanh.
There has been a decline in bookings for domestic tours, especially those traveling by air while several tour operators witness outbound tour sales reach last year’s level or even higher. In particular, tours to Cambodia saw a robust growth thanks to their appealing marketing campaign.
“Given high rates, domestic tours traveling by air are proved fairly hard to sell while overseas tours sell well. Particularly, we arrange 2-3 tours to Cambodia every week,” said Hoang Anh, representative of Viet Media Travel.