Many local tourists are more and more inclined to shorten their holidays, taking short-haul tours of southern destinations while budget and Free&Easy tours are being preferred, according to a report by the Viet Nam National Administration for Tourism (VNAT).
The Young Generation Travel Co said its turnover dropped by nearly 20 per cent in the first five months of 2011, though the number of customers remained high. Many corporate customers have been choosing road rather than air tours for their staff.
The HCM City-based Fiditourist said the number of tourists served by the travel firm rose by 30 per cent compared with the same period last year, with many of them choosing close destinations like Phu Quoc and Phan Thiet instead of far-away areas, such as tourist sites in central and northern regions.
Representatives of 35 hotels, travel agencies and tourism companies from HCM City, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet have gathered in HCM City for the opening of the Viet Nam MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) Club.
The MICE Club, managed by VinaMedia Corp, and under support and co-operation from Vietnam Airlines and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, called on its members to join hands to promote MICE services in the country.
Gilbert Whelan, president of VinaMedia, said the club has planned a series of marketing activities in the 2011-12 period, to join travel fairs in Germany, Australia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, along with events nationwide.
The club's website at www.vietnammiceclub.vn is set to launch in September.
Sea-Guld Express JSC will launch an express boat to ply waters between HCM City and the southern coastal city of Vung Tau later in June.
The Norway-made boat named Duong Dong Express can carry 300 customers and will start at Nha Rong Wharf in HCM City at 8am and return from Vung Tau at 3.30pm every day.
The ticket price is VND280,000 ($13) per person for normal deck and VND350,000 ($17) per person on the more comfortable deck.
At the moment there are three hydrofoil service companies running on the HCM City-Vung Tau route.
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) will begin airing a commercial promoting Viet Nam tourism in July. The 15-second commercial will be broadcast 260 times or three times a day for three months, with total production and broadcasting package to cost US$100,000, according to Nguyen Van Tinh, director of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's International Co-operation Department.
Tinh said the commercial would focus on promoting coastal tourism, and introduce various beach destinations from north to south, including Ha Long, Nha Trang, Mui Ne and others in the central Viet Nam, targeting tourists from Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK, the US and others.
Viet Nam Air Service Co (VASCO), in co-ordination with Rang Dong Group, has launched test flights for a helicopter service linking HCM City and the resort destination of Mui Ne in Binh Thuan Province's Phan Thiet city.
The flights, operated by VASCO using a new-seat AS350-B2 helicopter manufactured by the French company Eurocopter, took passengers 45 minutes from HCM City's Tan Son Nhat Airport to Sea Links City Resort, some 9km from Phan Thiet.
Rang Dong Group said the helicopter service aims to offer one more transport choice for travellers besides the current bus and train services between the two cities.
The company has not yet announced the fare for the new air service, but revealed that it would be at least VND10 million (US$485) for a round trip between HCM City and Mui Ne. — VNS