Southeast Asian nations and local resort towns have dominated Tet tour bookings by Vietnamese this year, travel agencies report.
The Lunar New Year holiday runs from February 2 to 10, and during the period, based on tour bookings, Cambodia and Myanmar are popular destinations, Bui Luu Thu Mai, director of Blue Sky Travel company, told VnExpress.
Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) are also among the top 10 destinations, according to Agoda, a leading online travel booking platform.
Thailand’s popularity among Vietnamese is due to its close proximity, low cost and the fact they do not need a visa, Nguyen Cong Hoan, deputy general director of Hanoi Redtours company, told VnExpress International.
“Thailand has a warm climate and a lot of religious and recreational places. It is suitable for many families.”
More distant places like Japan, South Korea, Dubai, and Europe are also popular choices this year.
Many people have booked tours to Japan since the holidays coincide with the plum blossom season there, Mai said.
There have been some changes in outbound travel choices for this year.
“Western European tours, with a stop in France, have seen a decline. It might be because the riots in France coincided with the booking period two or three months ago.”
Some incidents related to tourists in Egypt and Taiwan also influenced choices.
Three Vietnamese vacationers and an Egyptian tour guide were killed on December 28 when a roadside bomb blast hit their bus in Cairo, Egypt.
Taiwanese authorities have decided to stop issuing visas for groups under the program which allows Vietnamese to apply for visas online without fees.
Last December 153 Vietnamese tourists had arrived in Taiwan’s southwestern city of Kaohsiung in groups and then went missing. Investigations showed several of the ‘missing’ tourists were actually looking to stay and work illegally in Taiwan.
Truong Thu Giang of HCMC-based tour operator Viettravel said: “Visitors to Egypt have switched to European, Japanese and South Korean tours. Taiwan tours continue, but tourists need to apply for a visa in the traditional way.”
A view of Nha Trang beach. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh
Many people are also traveling within the country, heading for famous resort towns, with Nha Trang and southern provinces being among top options, Hoan said.
Tran Thi Bao Thu of HCMC-based Fiditour, said Da Nang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc Island, and the Mekong Delta are among the most popular destinations.
For Vietnamese, Tet is a time devoted to family gatherings, but in recent years more people have begun to travel then.
Fiditour and Viettravel, two of the country’s leading travel agencies, estimated a 15 – 20 percent increase in bookings this year, while Hanoi Redtours said it was 30 percent.
Many people prefer to start their trip on the second day of the year, considering it a good day for departing, after performing the traditional rituals and visiting relatives on the first day.
Thu of Fiditour said most tours on the 2nd and 4th days of the new year (February 6 and 8) are full up, adding most are for 4 or 5 days.
The Year of the Pig begins on February 5.
According to Mastercard, Vietnam has the second fastest growing outbound market in the Asia Pacific region after Myanmar, with annual growth projected at 9.5 percent between 2016 and 2021.
Ngoc Dinh – VnExpress.net