Hotels, travel firms fret over lack of Russian tourists in Khanh Hoa
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Russian tourists at a swimming pool of a resort in Khanh Hoa Province, 2019. Photo courtesy of Anex Vietnam
The travel and hospitality industries in the central Khanh Hoa Province are worried about the absence of Russians amid the war in Ukraine as Vietnam prepares to reopen to tourists.
Le Xuan Thom, general director of Hai Dang Group, which owns the four-star Galina Hotel & Spa, said the Russia-Ukraine conflict and a series of economic sanctions by the U.S. and European countries have caused the Russian ruble to depreciate against the dollar and euro, which means Russian tourists will have to pay more money when booking a tour.
He expressed concern at "the lack of Russian tourists" as Vietnam plans to lift all Covid-19 related tourism restrictions on March 15.
Russian forces have pounded Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv with artillery and cruise missiles for a fifth day running and at least 64 civilians have been killed and more than 160,000 are on the move after Russian troops entered Ukraine last Thursday, Reuters reported.
From late March through summer Russian tourist groups are scheduled to visit Khanh Hoa, home to popular beach towns Nha Trang and Cam Ranh and high-end resorts stretching along the sea.
Thom had been expecting his 163-room hotel to be full but amid the conflict the number of Russian tourists returning to the country would be as not high as expected.
Before the pandemic foreign visitors, mainly Russian and South Korean tourists, accounted for 80 percent of his hotel’s clientele.
Vu Huong Giang, manager of Alma Resort Cam Ranh, said her hotel is working with a Russian partner to bring tourists from March 15, but the conflict has delayed things.
In the most pessimistic scenario, her resort would focus on the South Korean and Australian markets, which are also promising, she revealed.
Bui Quoc Dai, a representative of Khanh Hoa travel operator Anex Vietnam, feared the Russia-Ukraine conflict would affect the tourism industry since Russia is one of Vietnam’s biggest feeder markets.
He said the government should work with Russian authorities to operate more direct flights.
Vietnam has resumed commercial flights to 20 countries and territories, including Moscow.
Russia and China are traditionally the biggest tourism markets for Khanh Hoa.
In 2019, the year before the onset of Covid, the province received over seven million tourists, half of them foreigners.