Phu Quoc island was expected to entice big tourist numbers over the recent break as the first holiday of the peak season for domestic tourism, but instead it recorded a drop in the number of visitors.
|Phu Quoc Island |
The island welcomed just over 118,000 visitors during the five-day holiday from April 30, down 40 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. The decrease in arrivals resulted in a drop in Phu Quoc’s total tourism revenue by around one-quarter, according to Kien Giang Tourism Department.
In 2022 as a whole, Phu Quoc was a hotspot on the Vietnamese tourism map, welcoming nearly five million visitors and bringing in more than $300 million in revenue.
Some industry commentators said Phu Quoc has become less attractive because the airfare and travel services are too expensive.
“There are times when a return plane ticket to Phu Quoc is higher than the price of a package tour of Thailand. Seafood is also 2-3 times more expensive than other cities, while the quality is often not comparable,” said Hang Dinh, a travel blogger with more than 30,000 followers on Facebook.
In addition to domestic tourists, international visitors to Phu Quoc have decreased as some international routes to the island from India, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are suspended. There are currently only international connections to Phu Quoc from South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Despite the surprising figures in Phu Quoc, Vietnam served about 300,000 international visitors and seven million domestic visitors during the holiday break, an increase of 40 per cent over the same period in 2022. Total revenues from tourism are estimated at $1 billion, an increase of 9 per cent over the same period last year.
A number of destinations have recorded a sudden increase in visitors from 25 to more than 30 per cent, of which Thanh Hoa led with 1,195,000 visitors, Can Tho welcomed 982,000 visitors, Ho Chi Minh City 950,000 visitors, Nghe An 780,000 visitors, and Hanoi 719,000 visitors.
Thua Thien-Hue served 99,000 visitors in the period, an increase of more than 80 per cent over the same period in 2022.
According to domestic travel agencies in Vietnam such as Saigontourist and Vietravel, marine tourism products including cruise ships, cross-Vietnam cruises, and island tours are popular with international tourists.
However, according to Nguyen Cong Hoan, deputy general director of Hanoi Redtours, the influence of foreign exchange rates and rising petrol prices has caused domestic tour prices to increase by more than half, with hotel room rates and meals also going up by about 10 per cent.
This time last year, Vietnamese airlines enthusiastically adhered to a tourism stimulus programme by reducing airfares. This year, ticket prices have tripled in places.
“With an average cost of $350-450, tourists will absolutely choose to go to Thailand, Malaysia, or elsewhere instead of signing up for a domestic tour,” Hoan said.
Before the start of the holiday season, at Hanoi Redtours, tours to Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Cambodia were full, while the number of people booking tours to top domestic destinations such as Nha Trang, Mui Ne, and Phu Quoc decreased or showed no movement.
“A total of 80 per cent of our visitors book overseas tours and the remaining 20 per cent book domestic tours. Many people go abroad not only for sightseeing but also to spend a lot on shopping, which means that the domestic tourism industry is losing out,” Hoan said.
Elsewhere, TST Tourist served about 2,000 tourists during the holiday season, 61 per cent of which chose foreign tours. Vietfoot Travel and Vietravel also saw more than half of visitors register for a tour abroad.
In early May, the Vietnamese government submitted to the National Assembly a proposal to include a number of new policies on the management of entry, exit, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam into a joint resolution of the National Assembly in Hanoi this month.
Reforms in visa policy may go some way to helping the country meet the target of welcoming eight million international visitors in 2023 as a whole. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam welcomed nearly 3.7 million international visitors in the first four months of 2023.
| ||Escaping to the tropical Phu Quoc Island |
Honoured to be Asia’s Leading Luxury Family Resort 2022 by the prestigious World Travel Awards, InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort is one of the signature landmarks on the emerald Phu Quoc Island.
| ||Phu Quoc ramps up efforts against IUU fishing |
Phu Quoc island city, along with other coastal localities in the southern province of Kien Giang, has been concertedly rolling out solutions and exerting great efforts to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
| ||Visa exemption means international tourists can visit Phu Quoc for up to 30 days |
Phu Quoc Island is an ideal choice for travel and long-term relaxation thanks to a visa exemption policy for international visitors, temporary stays of up to 30 days, rich nature, and impressive architecture.