The number of Russian tourists to Viet Nam continues to increase sharply, despite the loss of one major travel agency, the now-bankrupt Lanta-Tur Voyache of Russia, Tuoi Tre (The Youth) newspaper reported yesterday.
Travel agencies said Russian visitors often toured Viet Nam only in the winter break, but they now were booking tours throughout the entire year.
Le Van Nghia, a representative of Transaero Airlines and Siberia Airlines in Viet Nam, said he had completed license extensions for two Russian airlines that take tourists from Moscow and Novosibirsk to HCM City.
Four flights per week have been scheduled to meet demand until May 15.
Most of the tourists who usually travelled with Lanta-Tur Voyache have shifted their bookings to other travel agencies, he said.
Bookings are nearly full until mid-May this year, in contrast to previous years when flights were often cancelled because of fewer reservations.
Together with popular tourist destinations such as Nha Trang and Phan Thiet, many travel agencies are encouraging Russian tourists to travel to other spots, such as Da Nang and Cam Ranh.
Nguyen Van Khoa, general director at Mui Ne Bay Resort in Phan Thiet City, which is popular with Russian tourists, said many guests had recommended the resort town to friends and family.
This year, the Phan Thiet Tourism Association said many travel agencies in Russia were planning to send tourists to the area. More tourists have arrived, especially since October of last year.
Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairwoman of Anh Duong Travel Ltd. Co., one of leading tour operators that caters to Russians, said the company had welcomed 180-200 tourists to the coastal province of Khanh Hoa.
Beginning next month, Russian travel agencies working with Anh Duong will book more tours to Da Nang. Because of increasing number of bookings from partner travel agencies in Russia, nine flights a week carrying 180-200 passengers each have been operating since January to meet demand.
Tour contracts to Khanh Hoa Province this year between cooperating travel agencies in both countries will last until September 4 instead of April as in previous years.
Thu said the company's partners frequently asked about new destinations, such as Phu Quoc and Con Dao islands, to plan new tours for Russian tourists.
She said since October last year to March this year, the company has welcomed 30,000 tourists, most of whom stayed at least 10 days in Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, HCM City or Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces.
In February, the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism said more than 39,000 Russian tourists visited Viet Nam, raising the number of Russian visitors in the first two months to more than 109,000, an increase of 55.1 per cent compared to the same period last year.