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Service prices, bad news for travel companies

Bad news comes continuously to Vietnam travel agencies. At first, they heard that the excursion fee at the Ha Long Bay increased. On the other days, they heard that the excursion tickets at Sa Pa and then Huong Pagoda would also increase. The travel firms have no other choice now than accepting the higher fees and incurring losses.

The excursion fee at the Ha Long Bay has increased by 100 percent. Since December 1, travelers have to pay 80,000 dong for a ticket for the itinerary of Thien Cung cavern - Dau Go cavern – Cho Da island – Ba Hang fishing village – Dinh Huong island – Trong Mai island – Hoa Cuong fishing village. Meanwhile, the ticket is more expensive, at 90,000 dong for the Sung Sot cave – Titov Island – Me Cung cave – Dong Tien Lake, and 130,000 dong for a place for staying at night.

Especially, if travelers want to visit some points of the fixed itineraries, they will have to buy tickets for the whole itinerary; while previously, they only had to pay tickets for the excursion to some certain points.

“The sudden increases in excursion fees have made us dumstruck,” said Nguyen Quoc Anh, Director of Bien Ngoc Travel Firm.

According to Anh, 50 percent of Bien Ngoc’s clients are foreign tourists, who booked tours six months, or one year in advance. Meanwhile, just within one week, Anh herd the news about the excursion fee increase of 100 percent at Ha Long Bay, and then about the fee increase of 15 percent in Sa Pa.

“The higher excursion fee should be applied only to irregular travelers who do not book tours in advanced,” Anh said. The problem is that travel firms cannot raise the tour fees applied to the clients who book tours in advance. As a result, they have to pay their own money to offset the excursion fee increases.

Asiana Travel Mate has also said that it will incur losses due to the unexpected excursion fee increases. Nguyen Viet Linh, a tour operator of the firm, said that the price list has been sent to clients both in Vietnam and foreign countries already. Therefore, the firm cannot adjust the tour fees at this moment - the high tour season.

“Domestic travelers tend not to choose the tours which have excursion fee increasing. Meanwhile, travel firms cannot demand higher excursion fees from foreign travelers, who have booked tours many months before. Therefore, it is the travel firms, who will suffer,” he said.

Huong Giang from Van Hoa travel firm has pointed out that while the excursion fees increase, the service quality does not increase accordingly. A lot of travelers, who are planning to book tours for Christmas and New Year holiday, still keep hesitant, saying that they need to reconsider the itineraries and tour fees.

How heavy of a loss will travel firms incur?

According to Anh, the service quality in Vietnam is not better than that of other regional countries, but the tour fees are more expensive.

A five day and four night tour to Thailand costs 265 dollars, while the fee to Vietnam is 300 dollars. If not counting on air tickets, travelers would have to pay less than 100 dollars for the tour to Thailand and stay at 3-4 star hotels, the thing that cannot be seen in Vietnam.

Anh said that most of his clients are foreign travelers, therefore, he well understands what will happen if the service fee increases are not associated with the better service quality.

“It is necessary to follow a roadmap when raising fees. Our partners always inform us about any changes 2-4 months in advance,” Linh said

Giang also said that she can see clearly how the tour fee increases influence clients’ decision. “Domestic travelers would cancel tours or choose other trips, while foreign travelers would consider choosing another destination,” Giang said.

Vietnam Travel Company, Vietnam Travel Agency




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