Faced with Russian tourist drop, Vietnam resort towns cut prices

Thanh Nien News

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Hotels, resorts and travel agencies in Binh Thuan Province, famous for its Mui Ne beach, have agreed to cut prices to fight a dramatic decline in Russian tourists' bookings due to the ruble's fall.
Nguyen Van Khoa, chairman of Binh Thuan Tourism Association, said many hotels and resorts including Oriental Pearl, Sea Horse, Muine De Century, The Cliff, Muine Bay, Ocean Star, Pandanus, Rock Water Bay, Park Diamond, Muine Ocean, Blue Ocean, Little Muine, Dynasty, Sea Gull, Ca Ty, and Minh Hung have agreed to offer discounts for tour organizers.
Khoa did not specify the discounts on offer, but said he asked the association members to reduce their prices by at least another ten percent for travel agencies.
“The province’s authorities have also met with local hotels and tour operators to discuss plans to search for new markets,” he told The Saigon Times.
He said several hotels had reduced their prices even before the agreement.
According to many travel agencies in Vietnam, while there has been no significant reduction in the number of Russian tourists coming so far, there have been less bookings for the upcoming high season, compared to previous years.
A source told The Saigon Times that their bookings have dropped by up to half from last year.
Russians account for a third of foreign tourists in Binh Thuan, which received more than 100,000 Russian arrivals this year.
Tourism agencies in the nearby Nha Trang, another Russians’ destination in Khanh Hoa Province, are also working on reducing prices to save the market.
Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairwoman of Anh Duong Company, a partner of Russian tourism company Pegas Touristik and one of Vietnam’s leading Russian tour companies, told the news website earlier this month that the ruble's dramatic slide has kept Russians at home.
According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the country attracted 330,000 Russian tourists in the first 11 months this year, a 25 percent increase over last year.
Russia's plunging currency is also hurting Thailand's tourism industry, a VoA report said. According to the Thai Hotel Association, the loss of the Russians, who are known as big spenders, has resulted in a 70 percent drop in hotel reservations from Russia during the high season, which runs from December 28 through January 15.
 

 A foreign tourist windsurfs in Mui Ne, which is dubbed Vietnam's Moscow for its crowds of foreign tourists in Binh Thuan Province.

A man prepares to fly a kite at a festival in Mui Ne, Binh Thuan.

 Foreigners play with sand at Mui Ne, Binh Thuan.

 A professional windsurfer instructs a tourist in Mui Ne, Binh Thuan.

 Tourists are equipped for some water sports in Mui Ne, Binh Thuan.

 Kites fly over Mui Ne, Binh Thuan.

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