The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) on Tuesday told local travel companies to suspend tours for Vietnamese tourists to Thailand’s sites under the threat from floods.
A document signed by Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy head of VNAT, clarifies the move was to guarantee safety for Vietnamese travelers. The tourism authority also suggested those tour operators whose guests are still in Thailand to call the Vietnamese embassy in that country on 0066818460571 in case of need.
Thailand is the top outbound destination for Vietnamese tourists, as that country attracted 420,000 travelers from Vietnam last year and more than 417,000 in the first nine months of this year. For this reason, both tour operators and airlines are keeping a close eye on the flooding situation in Thailand.
A number of Vietnamese travel companies had decided to call off their tours to Thailand until the situation improves, expected in early November. Of course, the national tourism body’s decision has cut into revenue of these tour operators and the airlines that fly between Vietnam and Bangkok.
“Our new bookings during the period we suspend tours to Thailand from October 26 to November 6 are zero and those guests who have already made reservations have to wait until floods subside in the affected areas in Bangkok,” Nguyen Minh Man of Vietravel said.
The communications manager Man said Vietravel usually arranged daily tours for some 100 guests to explore Thailand around this time.
Lai Minh Duy, general director of TST Tourist, said his company would not resume tours to Thailand until November 10. He said if there were not floods in Thailand, the company would organize tours for two to three groups of Vietnamese travelers to Thailand every week.
Duy said each group had more than 10 people. He confirmed to the Daily that all TST Tourist guests had come back to Vietnam and that the company had canceled airfare bookings for the flights before November 10 but still reserve seats on the flights afterwards.
Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Thai AirAsia currently conduct flights from Bangkok to Vietnam and vice versa and still maintain their service frequencies despite the impact of cancellations from tour operators in Vietnam.
Thai Airways International confirmed its daily flights from Bangkok to HCMC and Hanoi even though the carrier saw a drop of 15% in occupancy or higher as passengers had either canceled or postponed their departure until further notice. The airline said passengers were allowed to change flights and dates of departure without any charge until December 15.
Qatar Airways has also reported booking cancellations due to the floods in Thailand but still operates its normal flights between Vietnam and Qatar via Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.
National flagship Vietnam Airlines did not reveal the impact of tour cancellations on its flights from HCMC and Hanoi to Bangkok but confirmed its normal daily services on these routes.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the flooding in Thailand was mainly hitting the central provinces along the Chao Phraya River including Bangkok and Ayutthaya. Other popular tourist destinations Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Chang and Kanchanaburi have not been affected by the floods.