Travel firms to raise tour prices for foreigners
  • | SGT | April 06, 2011 11:07 AM

Local travel firms will likely raise tour prices for international tourists to the country in the next high season, normally from October to next March, by 5% to 10% to offset the rising costs, though they admit the high price will erode the attractiveness of the destination.

International tourists in a cycle tour in HCMC - Photo: Hoang Long

The tour operators pointed to a series of negative factors affecting their costs, including a strong increase of transportation fees due to higher oil prices and inflation.

“The transportation fee is an example. It has increased by 10% since last week on top of a 15% increase last month. We need to raise up the tour price alongside lowering our profit margin,” said Ung Phương Dung, director of Indochina Services Vietnam. She said tour operators are mulling a price increase of some 10% for inbound packaged tours.

Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Indochina Trails Co., said her company’s price would also go up by 10% in the next season.

“The number of tourists served by my company has been increasing in recent months, but signs of difficulty have surfaced as overseas partners have expressed worries about increasing fuel surcharge and other fees,” she said.

Tour operators said that the country’s tourism has recorded good growth in term of foreign arrivals in the recent time and would maintain the uptrend in the short-term. However, the whole destination will lose its attractiveness and the number of international tourists can be down in the next one to two years due to the high prices.

Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink, said his company’s overseas partners have asked why tours prices in Vietnam were rising while prices in neighboring destinations like Thailand still stayed stable.

“Thailand is taking more efforts to woo international tourists after the last two difficult years, while services in Vietnam are poor, let alone the country’s disadvantage in the price competition,” he said.

Tour operators said that given the situation, the national tourism authority needs to take more efforts in promoting the country’s tourism image along with direct marketing activities to customers.

“It’s time for boosting the marketing activity to get Vietnam better known, but little has been done lately,” Thanh said.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, nearly 476,000 foreign visitors have visited the country last month, up 5% year-on-year, taking the total number of the visitors to over 1.51 million in the first quarter of this year, up 11.9% year-on-year.

The HCMC Tourism Association has just sent a petition to relevant agencies seeking approval to ease business conditions for entrepreneurs as well as to offer them more tax incentives to overcome the tough times ahead.

The association has asked for a 50% reduction of the value added tax (VAT), and a 30% reduction of the corporate income tax.

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