Tourism hotspots feeling the heat

July 16, 2021 | 12:14
High-end hotels and resorts recorded an increase in visitors after many localities reopened to tourism, with some domestic businesses speeding up negotiations with foreign partners to benchmark the recovery of the international tourist market.
Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hoa province. Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air have deployed the IATA Travel Pass, an electronic health passport application. (Photo: VNA)
Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hoa province. Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air have deployed the IATA Travel Pass, an electronic health passport application. Photo: VNA

Guests have been booking rooms at isolated hotels and resort villas in the vicinity of Hanoi – such as Ba Vi, Soc Son, and Mai Chau in Hoa Binh – increasingly since mid-June, following the loosening of the capital’s pandemic prevention regulations.

Nguyen Hieu, CEO of Vitamin Tours, said that resorts such as Meliá Ba Vi, Avana Retreat Hoa Binh, and Mai Chau Hideaway are now fully booked on July weekends and prices went up as a direct reaction, ranging around $130-$215 a night for two.

Villa rental agency My Linh stated that the nearly 100 villas she is working with are full on all July weekends, with only a few apartments available for some days during weekdays. Prices for villas for groups of about 15 people average now VND 5-7 million ($215-$300) during weekdays, with weekend rates going up to $430.

Some other safe tourist destinations such as Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa have also gradually recorded a recovery in visitor numbers.

Thanh Tam, the owner of a villa at FLC Thanh Hoa, said that her villa has been booked for July since the end of last month.

Although Haiphong and Quang Ninh only allow tourism businesses to welcome guests from within the province, they have also quickly recorded positive recovery signals.

Quang Ninh has welcomed nearly 30,000 tourists since June 8. In the first two days alone the famous attractions of Quang Ninh such as Halong Bay, Co To, Quan Lan, and Minh Chau welcomed nearly 10,000 locals living and working in the province.

According to a representative of FLC Halong, the hotel’s weekend occupancy is sitting around 80 per cent. Some other resorts in the same FLC system such as FLC Sam Son and FLC Quy Nhon also recorded an increased booking rate from guests in the province with an expected rate of over 50 per cent.

With Phu Quoc chosen as a pilot to welcome vaccinated foreign tourists, it has set off a push for many businesses specialising in international guests to accelerate construction of new products.

Ha Nhan, owner of Saparis and Sapa Eco-Home hotels, said although Vietnam has not announced a specific time to open to international guests, every day he receives several bookings from European guests for their holiday in November and December.

“I am currently trying to set up more isolated tours for foreign visitors. They can stay at my two hotels for 7-10 days, eat, stay, and live like local people, but the cost would be a third cheaper than short-term bookings,” said Nhan.

Through studying the consumption behaviour of customers, other Vietnamese travel companies could realise the two most-anticipated tourism trends in the coming time.

First, tourists are likely to choose renowned destinations with many new experiences, giving priority to one destination but staying longer. These destinations may be those secluded and close to nature. Second, another emerging trend are comprehensive healthcare products.

As such, many companies are building new packages and negotiating with customers to choose, for example, Phu Quoc with its luxury resort products and yachts that enables integrated experiences like sunset dinners, diving, visiting pristine islands, and taking up healthcare activities.

According to Tran The Dung, director of Fiditour and Vietluxtour, the main products that foreign tourists desire are resorts and visits to the sea and islands. “In addition to green tourism that focuses on the environmental protection of islands and forests, travel companies need to ensure the safety of visitors and should limit activities with large crowds,” Dung said.

Booking.com recently conducted a global survey with more than 28,000 travellers in 28 countries and territories to capture the needs that travellers worldwide want most.

The more than 1,000 Vietnamese tourists participating in the study said they plan to travel in the next 12 months. Around 63 per cent of them choose a trip over the opportunity to buy a new car, and 57 per cent choose a holiday over a promotion at work.

However, in the context that the pandemic is still causing major issues in many provinces and cities, safety requirements during trips are even more attentive.

Although many destinations in Vietnam have not yet officially announced suspension of welcoming tourists and the research plan to open the door to welcome vaccinated visitors to Phu Quoc is still underway, it is recommended that tourists strictly follow the 5K message even as Vietnam speeds up its vaccination scheme.

By Thai An

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional