Tourists at Vung Tau Beach on April 29
The inspectorate of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism received a petition from a hotline set up by a group of tourists from HCM City which said seaside seats were going for VND1.1 million (USD52.56). The price on a normal day would be VND20,000-VND30,000 (USD0.95-USD1.43).
The agency said they would investigate and apply penalties when needed.
Tran Dang Minh Uyen, Deputy Director of Lua Viet Picnic Company, said tourists at Vung Tau had to pay VND150,000 (USD7.16) per seat at Vung Tau Beach, five times the normal rate.
Uyen said that room prices at small-sized hotels also increased three-fold, to an average of VND2 million (USD95.55) per night.
In Danang room prices were also higher. On average, they cost VND350,000 (USD16.72) on a normal day, but shot up to VND1.4 million (USD66.9) for holidays, said Tran The Dung, Deputy Director of The He Tre Travel Company.
The Ba Na cable service went from VND320,000 (USD15.28) per person to VND380,000 (USD18.15).
Room prices in Hue and Hoi An doubled to VND800,000 (USD38.22).
Many tourists to Dalat also complained of extreme price hikes at hotels.
Domestic tours fall
Many blame the price hikes for the fall in the volume of domestic tourism this holiday season.
Tran The Dung said: “We’ve seen a 30% decrease in the number of tours booked to the central region from last year. If something drastic is not done, this could harm the entire tourism industry.”
At the moment, customers can find cheaper rates to travel abroad to Cambodia or Thailand during Vietnamese holidays.
Tran Dang Minh Uyen warned that if this type of price manipulation continues, people will begin to turn their backs on Vietnamese destinations for their holidays.
Nguyen Thi Khanh, Vice Chairwoman of Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association, said the agency has made several proposals to municipal authorities that could deal with price-gouging during the holiday seasons, and help the domestic tourism industry in general.