Vietnam Airlines Group, which includes Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines and VASCO, provides 400,000 more seats on domestic air routes for flights from August 31 to September 5, an increase of 15 percent compared with the same period in 2019. 

The additional seats are mostly for flights from Hanoi and HCM City to popular tourism destinations such as Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc.

As of August 14, air ticket prices for flights on rush days (departure on August 31 and return on September 4-5) were high, and few cheap tickets remain. But there are still many vacant seats.

A HCM City - Hanoi return ticket, including taxes and fees, for example, are VND3.3-4 million, while a ticket to Da Nang is VND2.6-3.1 million, and to Phu Quoc Island VND2.1-2.3 million. 

For flights from Hanoi to Phu Quoc, a return ticket, including taxes and fees, is VND3-3.35 million, to Da Nang VND3.44-3.38 million, and to Nha Trang VND3.8-4.2 million.

The airfares are high for less popular routes: VND6 million per return ticket for Hanoi-Tuy Hoa (Phu Yen), and VND3.65-4.6 million for Hanoi - Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh). The prices are 30-40 percent higher than pre- and after-holiday prices.

Pham Thi Dong, a booking agent, said the average air ticket to famous tourism sites for the September holiday is VND3 million per return ticket. However, there are still many vacant seats, except for flights to Da Nang and Quy Nhon.

A representative of Noi Bai International Airport Authorities confirmed that the number of passengers on flights remains low. The peak summer tourism season this year is expected to end on August 15, but in reality the number of passengers returned to normal at the beginning of August. It is estimated that 30 percent of seats on every flight are vacant.

As the high tourism season is over, and students are preparing for the new academic year, he predicted that the number of air passengers on September holiday won’t increase sharply.

Air carriers have confirmed that the number of passengers booking tickets by August 13 is not high.

Meanwhile, travel firms are still expecting more travelers who book tours at the last minute.

Le Cong Nang, CEO of Wondertour, said travel demand has decreased sharply after the high summer season. Workers this year will have four days off for the National Day holiday, which raises the hope that the number of travelers will increase, especially as they have chances to view ripening rice fields and terraced fields, or go abroad to enjoy autumn landscapes.  

However, according to Nang, demand is weak as people have cut spending.

“I think the number of tourists on the National Day holiday will be just 30-40 percent of that of the April-May holiday,” Nang said.

He went on to say that the bookings are higher than those in July and August, but lower than expected.

“We have cut unattractive tours and focused on tours expected to have high demand. To date, 80 percent of the plan has been implemented,” he said, adding that the firm is still receiving bookings for the September holiday, but it has started post-holiday tours.

The CEO of a HCM City-based travel firm specializing in domestic tours said the market is quiet at this moment, though the holiday will come in half a month. No tourism company is satisfied with number of travelers. He said his firm has mostly served loyal clients this summer.

Tran Bao Thu from Vietluxtour said the September holiday is the last travel season for families with children before the new academic year, so the number of travelers won’t be as high as in the summer. Transport, restaurant and hotel fees are stable.

She predicted that the number of travelers on the September holiday will be 20-25 percent higher than in the same period last year.

Ngoc Ha