Hotels fully booked month before Reunification Day holiday
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People flock to the streets in an art event in Hoi An, Quang Nam, one of many programs as the province hosts the National Tourism Year, March 24, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
A month ahead of the Reunification Day holiday, bookings are full at several high-end hotels in Sa Pa and Phu Quoc. Air fares and room prices are climbing too.
Vietnamese people will have four days off for the Reunification Day-Labor Day holiday as both days, April 30 and May 1, fall on the weekend. Many people have begun to plan their trips early.
In online groups that sell tours, there are dozens of inquiries about ticket prices and hotel bookings for popular destinations like Phu Quoc and Nha Trang.
Hoang Thanh, who lives in Hanoi, said he managed to snatch a good combo deal online. When he tried to look for a tour last year, he booked too closely to the trip, when prices skyrocketed. He learned his lesson and decided for an early booking this year for his family.
"This year we chose Quy Nhon (in the south central coast) as the prices are relatively cheap and there might not be too many people. Since there's no more Covid quarantine and lockdown, we won't have to worry about our bookings being canceled. We will still wear masks just to be safe though," he said, adding that all four members have already recovered from mild Covid-19.
Thousands of people visit a beach in Nha Trang during the Reunification Day-Labor Day holiday in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc
Over a month before the holiday season, tourism firm BestPrice stated the number of customers looking to book its services increased by around 30 percent from just a week earlier.
Bui Thanh Tu, the firm's marketing director, said travel demand has increased by around 15-20 percent compared to the same period last year.
On online tourism booking platform Agoda, several hotels and resorts in northern Lao Cai Province's Sa Pa have been 90 percent filled for the holiday on April 30 and May 1. They include places like Topas Ecolodge, Sa Pa Jade Hill Resort, Eden Boutique and Muong Hoa View Hotel.
Tran Thanh Thuy, deputy chairman of Sa Pa Tourism Association, said many customers decided to book early as high-end hotels are few in Sa Pa. In fact, demand for them are so high that they're usually 70 percent full in the weekends, he added.
"The number of visitors to Sa Pa for the April 30-May 1 holiday is expected to continue booming this year, filling up all available rooms," he said, adding that tourists are now less worried about the pandemic than before.
Similarly, many hotels near the coasts of Nha Trang and Vung Tau are also full during the holiday, according to data from Booking.com.The same thing's happening at hotels and resorts in Kien Giang, home to the country's largest island Phu Quoc.
Nguyen Vu Khac Huy, deputy chairman of Kien Giang Tourism Association, said that since March 25, many three-star hotels in the area have already been filled, and tour agencies are working round the clock to finalize tours during the holiday.
"I expect that there would be as many visitors as in the April 30-May 1 holiday last year. The domestic tourism industry is in revival," he said.
Flight prices from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to other major destinations like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Quy Nhon, Da Nang and Hue could even double. For example, a flight to Phu Quoc would typically cost VND2-3 million ($87-131) per person, but during the holiday could cost up to VND5 million.
Four and five-star hotels may also see prices jumping by around 30 percent, said Thanh Tu. It would be more difficult to predict price changes to two-star hotels as they may change abruptly, especially as visitors book them so closely to their visit.
"During holiday seasons, people should not expect cheap deals as prices would increase by 30-50 percent compared to usual."
Nguyen Hieu, CEO of tourism firm Vitamin Tours, said price increases during the holiday are a given. However, prices are rising even more than the holiday season last year, even back to pre-pandemic levels in some areas, due to ever-rising travel demand.
"Customers should not be worried. Even though prices are not as low as they were during the pandemic, accommodations would still gift their customers extra services," he said.
Business representatives are also advising people to buy flight tickets early as prices are rising daily. People could also pick dates later than April 30 and May 1 for cheaper deals.