VietNamNet Bridge – The number of Vietnamese people traveling to China recently has dropped sharply because of the economic downturn and the tensions on the East Sea. Meanwhile, fewer Chinese travelers visit Vietnam due to the cooperation disagreements between Vietnamese and Chinese travel firms.
Vietnamese travelers don’t choose tours to China anymore
Travel firms have reported that the number of Vietnamese travelers to China dropped by 20-30 percent in June and July.
VnExpress has quoted Tran Van Long, Director of Du Lich Viet travel firm as saying that his firm serves 100 travelers only every month, a sharp fall of 30 percent from the previous number of 300-350 travelers. Autumn is considered the best time for Vietnamese travelers to go to China, but to date, only three or four groups of travelers have booked tours.
Doanh Thanh Tra, a senior executive of Saigontourist, also said that the number of travelers booking tours to China mainland at the firm has decreased by 30 percent, while the number of travelers to Hong Kong and Macau still has been increasing stably.
According to Tra, the sharpest decreases occur mostly with the groups of tourists using the state budget.
Nguyen Thi Hien, Managing Director of Vietran Tour, has also confirmed that the number of Vietnamese travelers booking tours has decreased in comparison with the same period of the last year. Hien said that the economic downturn has forced people to fasten their belt and cut down spending on tourism.
Meanwhile, some polled travelers said the tensions on the East Sea recently have made a lot of people give up the plan to travel to China. Thu Huong in Dong Da district in Hanoi said that her family’s trip to China was not really enjoyable, because some relatives decided to give up the tours amid the information about the East Sea dispute; therefore, they decided to travel Singapore and Malaysia instead.
Thanh Nien newspaper has quoted its sources as saying that a lot of travel firms have stopped running advertisement campaigns for the tours to China for the last year.
Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai from Fiditour said in previous years, the travelers to China accounted for 40 percent of travelers booking outbound tours at the firm. However, the figure has dropped to 20 percent.
Nguyen Minh Man from Vietravel said that the number of travelers to China via Vietravel has dropped sharply, because it is now difficult to ask for visas to China. Besides, the tours to China have become no longer attractive to Vietnamese travelers.
Vu The Binh, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said the decrease is quite understandable. Vietnamese people now have to cut down spending, while the cost to get visa to China is relatively high, at 60 dollars, and the entry procedures have become more and more complicated. Especially, the tours to China are not cheap to Vietnamese people.
The number of Chinese travelers to Vietnam has also decreased significantly. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the number of Chinese travelers to Vietnam in June 2012 was 32 percent lower than that of the same period of the last year.
Dat Viet newspaper has reported that Chinese travel firms, which bring Chinese travelers to Vietnam across the Huu Nghi border gate in Lang Son province with passport, have been trying to force the tour fees down.
The Chinese partners only accept the tour fee of 300 yuan for the tour lasting four days and three nights, or just one million dong. Therefore, Vietnamese travel firms said they would rather to stop organizing tours to China than providing low quality services, which would affect the images of Vietnam as the destination.