Admission and service charges at many popular tourist destinations nationwide will rise in 2014 causing huge challenges to travel companies in lowering tour prices to improve competitiveness.
Many international travel firms told the Daily that tickets and service charges at many tourist sites will surge strongly next year after staying unchanged for a long time.
For instance, the ticket price to Tam Coc – Bich Dong in Ninh Binh Province will rise from VND80,000 to VND150,000 while food prices will also increase. Tickets to Halong Bay will jump from VND80,000 to VND250,000, Saigon boat restaurant from VND170,000 to VND190,000 and diving service at the Mun Islet in Nha Trang City from VND40,000 to VND60,000.
Phan Dinh Hue, director of Viet Circle Travel and Services Company, said that service prices mainly rise at State-run tourist spots while those at privately-run destinations still stay unchanged or only increase slightly. Rising input service prices have forced travel firms to increase tour prices for international travelers by 5%.
This has resulted in tours to Vietnam being less competitive. Tour prices to Vietnam now are equal to those in Singapore and 30-40% higher than trips to Thailand and Cambodia, he said.
Nguyen Van Tran, general director of APEX Vietnam Tourist Joint Venture Company, said that the firm has revised package tour prices until March, 2014 as restaurant and hotel prices have also increased. For destinations that have increased service prices recently, the enterprise has to bear part of the fees as they have already set the price.
Tran Xuan Hung, director of Viking Travel and Media Company, said that the enterprise keeps tour prices for international tourists unchanged despite higher service fees.
For the outbound segment, “we have to revise business strategies, strengthening outbound tours as there are many favorable conditions,” Hung said.
While the nation has raised service prices steadily and has not given incentives for travel firms to lure international tourists, other countries have launched preferential policies to attract travelers from Vietnam.
For instance, South Korea has supported 50-70% of advertising expenses for travel firms while Japan has also given support and eased visa procedures. Dubai, Malaysia and Thailand have also provided many incentives, Hung said.
To cope with rising input service prices, enterprises have applied many measures to maintain tour prices. Large enterprises have negotiated with service providers while small firms have tried to find restaurants further from central areas and buy cheap air tickets.