Vietnam travel agencies sell outbound tours as border restrictions ease

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Leading travel agency Vietravel is launching a four-day package tour to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap with prices up to 19.9 million VND ($883.58) and a five-day tour to the Maldives, famous for its pristine islands with turquoise waters, which costs around 69 million VND per person.

Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, Deputy Marketing Director of Vietravel, said VnExpress International that company officials met last month with tourism officials from Thailand, the Philippines and Japan to discuss resuming touring in those countries.

In addition to focusing on reviving the domestic tourism market, Vietravel, which has started operating its own airline, would gradually resume outbound travel amid many Asian countries reopening their borders to international tourists. with eased travel restrictions, Khanh said.

Saigontourist, based in HCMC, offers a five-day package tour to the Maldives with prices up to VND 65.99 million per person, departing from February 24 and March 17-31.

The company also sells a six-day package tour to San Francisco and Los Angeles for almost VND90 million per person. This tour is scheduled to start on February 26.

A representative of Saigontourist said the company will soon launch tour programs in Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand, favorite tourist destinations for Vietnamese before the pandemic.

Nguyen Minh Man, head of marketing at HCMC-based TST Tourist Co., said his company is ready to resume tours to Southeast Asian countries, Japan and South Korea at the end of this month and early next month.

Tour operators say it’s time to resume outbound travel as Vietnam has officially resumed regular commercial flights and countries in the region have lifted entry restrictions to welcome foreign tourists back.

Vietnam’s aviation industry officially reopened scheduled flights between Hanoi, HCMC and Bangkok, Phnom Penh, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo from Jan. 1 and restarted other routes to Europe at the end. of last month.

After nearly two years of border closures due to the pandemic, Laos, the Philippines and Thailand have reopened international tourism with quarantine exemptions.

Expectations

Thu Anh, an HCMC office worker, said she had planned to visit Thailand during the four-day Reunification Day holiday (April 39-May 2), but was still waiting for consistent regulations before finalizing the trip.

“I’m afraid that I could contract the new variant of Omicron while traveling and be taken to centralized quarantine facilities when I return home,” she said.

“Also, due to limited flights, the price of the trip is much more expensive than pre-pandemic levels. It makes me hesitate to book a trip and choose to wait any longer,” she added.

Representatives of several travel agencies said that due to the limited frequency of scheduled flights, current tour prices are 20-30% higher than before the pandemic. They also acknowledged that many would-be tourists were still concerned about quarantine requirements upon returning home.

According to current regulations, fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19 arriving in Vietnam only need to self-isolate for three days.

Everyone, except children under the age of two, must have tested negative for the novel coronavirus using the PCR method within 72 hours of departure.

Vietravel’s Khanh hoped that the government would soon announce the official timetable for the full reopening of tourism so that travel agencies have enough time to make plans.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had instructed the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Tuesday to work with relevant agencies to announce a roadmap for a full resumption of tourism soon.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister asked the authorities to prepare for the reopening of borders to foreign tourists no later than the end of April and ideally the end of March.

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