As the 2023 New Year and Lunar New Year (Tet) are near, most people tend to book only one new-year tour, especially when the Tet holiday is seven days instead of nine days as in previous years. 

Travel firms began preparing for Tet tours in the second and third quarters of 2022. 

Vu Thi Bich Hue from Flamingo Redtours (Hanoi) said many people have booked 2023 New Year tours. The booked tours are mostly just 3-4 days and the destinations are mostly in Vietnam, such as Ha Giang and Cao Bang, and places in the south such as Nha Trang, Quy Nhon and Phu Quoc to avoid the cold in the north.

The number of travelers booking Tet tours is much higher and many booking outbound tours after two years of staying inside the country.

They tend to choose 5-7-day tours, and their favorite destinations are South Korea and Japan. The tour fees are between VND21.9 million (South Korea, 6 days and 5 nights) and VND40-42 million (Japan, 6 days). Meanwhile, a tour to Europe costs VND90 million for an 8-day journey.

Hue said the number of travelers booking Tet tours at Flamingo Redtours has reached 60 percent of the plan.

Meanwhile, according to Tran Bao Thu from Fiditour-Vietluxtour, the number of travelers registering packaged tours is expected to be 30-35 percent more than last year. 

Regarding outbound tour fees, Thu said the prices of VND15-25 million per traveler have been mostly chosen, and these rates are for Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan (China) and South Korea.

As for domestic tours, tours to Phu Quoc, Hanoi and Da Nang are offered at fees of VND7-12 million.

According to Pham Van Bay, deputy director of Vietravel Hanoi, the company plans to serve 188,000 travelers (both Solar and Lunar Tets). The clients of the company have registered mostly outbound tours. 

Vietnamese travelers have also begun showing interests in unfamiliar markets such as India, Egypt, Israel and South Africa.

Other large travel firms have reported that the number of travelers booking Tet tours has begun rising. At Saigontourist, for example, more than 12,000 clients have booked tours for both Tets. Ben Thanh Tourist plans to serve 10,000 travelers, including 70 percent of outbound travelers.

According to travel firms, the tour fees for Tet holiday are 15-25 percent higher than ordinary days because the fees have been affected by gasoline prices, airfares and the limited number of flights.

Not too optimistic 

Though the number of travelers booking tours has begun increasing, some travel firms in Hanoi and HCM City have said that the number of clients is not as high as in mid-year and the figure is much less than 2019, before the pandemic outbreak.

The director of a travel firm in Dinh Cong, Hanoi, specializing in providing outbound tours, said her firm has organized nine trips to Japan in the last 1.5 months (25 people per trip), which was an unprecedented number.

The tours to Europe have been selling well because of reasonable tour fees (thanks to sale promotion programs run by the countries).

However, the CEO noted that the number of people traveling to Japan will not be high as it is now very cold in Japan. Most travelers have decided to postpone their tours to March and April, the Sakura season in Japan.

As for the South Korea market, tour sales are going slowly because of difficulties in visa policies. Meanwhile, tour fees for the European market will increase by 20 percent as preferences have run out.

Le Trung Tin, managing director of Tin Viet Tourism, complained that his firm has lost a big client. A woodwork manufacturing company canceled a tour for 1,000 workers because of canceled orders from Europe which affected the company’s business performance.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Tai from VietsenseTravel, said that very few travelers have asked for information about tours and sales have been going slowly.

“By this time in previous years, we only focused on selling Tet tours, but things are different this year,” he said.

Ngoc Ha