Bonanza for tourism industry
20:42 | 17/02/2013

VGP - This year’s nine-day Lunar New Year holiday has helped drive large numbers of local and foreign visitors to tourist destinations across the country, raising hopes of a successful year for the tourism industry. 

Vietravel's first foreign tourists to Lao Cai province in the northern highlands region 
Vietravel tourism company has served nearly 35,000 visitors, rising 25% from last year’s Tet holiday figure. The first two days of the Lunar New Year (February 10-11) saw a record high of more than 7,000 arrivals.

Ta Thi Tu Uyen, a Vietravel official, said the company had organized more than 300 inbound and outbound tours before the Tet holiday, catering to various tastes.

Tours of the northern, central and southern regions were very popular, especially those of cultural and historical relic sites in Ha Noi, North-western provinces, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh City, and South-western provinces, said Uyen.

Saigontourist, the country’s leading tour operator, kick-started the long holiday with a swathe of impressive tours, attracting over 68,000 local and foreign visitors.

It served more than 46,000 foreign holiday-makers, up 43% from a year ago, ran 255 inbound tours, up 30%, and held 196 outbound tours, up 50%.

The company deployed all its available buses on route shuttling between hundreds of scheduled local and overseas destinations.

Major tourist destinations have attracted a high influx of visitors these days. The Quang Ninh provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported that as many as 350,000 people have visited the World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay over the past nine days, a year-on-year increase of 17%.

The former imperial city of Hue attracted nearly 32,000 visitors during the first three days of the Lunar New Year, 8,000 of whom were foreigners from France, the US and Australia.

The central city of Da Nang’s promotional successes have created expectations of welcoming more than 143,000 local and foreign visitors, up 10.4%.

Tet for foreigners

The traditional Tet holiday’s culture and customs are becoming intangible assets for the tourism industry. Increasing numbers of foreigners are choosing Viet Nam as their long-term holiday destination. Tourist resorts, trading centers and tour operations are capitalizing the golden opportunity by providing traditional Tet welcoming ceremonies to attract visitors.

Vietravel representative Nguyen Minh Man said the Tet tours offer foreign visitors the chance to shop, visit and share traditional Tet dishes with Vietnamese families, assemble Banh Chung (square cake made from sticky rice, green beans and pork) and observe ancestor worship.

Saigontourist’s Foreigners Enjoy Vietnamese Tet program, started since 2003, has helped promote Viet Nam’s traditional cultural values during the Tet holiday. Its two varieties of 2013 Tet tours Tet in the Mekong Delta and Tet with Saigonese, saw a 40% rise in the number of foreign tourists participating in.  

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism expects that international arrivals in the city are likely to increase 8 percent during this year’s Tet holiday.

Major tour operators enjoying the boon in potential customer numbers include JTB (up 30%, most from Japan), and Saigontourist (up 14% from France and Germany).

Other operators include Vietravel, Ben Thanh, Fiditour, Hoa Binh, Viet Nam, and Apex, have seen average increases of between 5 and 10%. Revenue is predicted to rise by 7%. - VOV

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