Friday, August 28, 2009

Mini-breaks all the rage for national holiday

August 28, 2009
Compiled by Hong Nguyen

Travel companies are rushing to offer short vacation packages for a mini-boom in tourism for the upcoming public holiday, Vietnam’s National Day on September 2.

As the holiday falls on a weekday, most Vietnamese vacationers have chosen short trips of one to three days inside the country instead of long holidays in foreign destinations, according to local tour operators.

Ho Chi Minh City-based travel giant Saigontourist has recently launched 50 new packages tours, most of which are short jaunts inside the country, Vietnam News Agency reported.

The company told Tuoi Tre newspaper it had received more than 1,000 bookings for tours from HCMC to the nearby coastal cities of Vung Tau and Phan Thiet by August 25.

Saigontourist expects some 2,200 tourists to use its services from August 30 to September 3.
Another local tour operator, Viettravel, is also offering 50 package tours, 30 of which are to foreign destinations.

Tours to coastal attractions and popular tourist spots, including World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay, central cities of Danang and Nha Trang, ancient Hoi An Town, Central Highlands Dalat City have been the most booked to date.

Vietnamese tourists also favor short-haul destinations to places such as Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

Doan Thanh Tra of Saigontourist said her company also saw a sharp increase in bookings for “free and easy” tours, a new trend which provides air tickets, accommodation, airport transfers and flexible traveling schedules.

The tours which are often 30 percent cheaper than the typical package tours have found fans among experienced travelers, young students and families.

Vietnam welcomed 2.17 million foreign visitors in the first seven months of this year, a year-on-year decrease of 18.7 percent, while domestic tourism grew 13 percent in the period.

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