The annual Da Nang International Firework Competition (DIFC) will kick off tonight. Since its birth in 2008, the international event has been a popular vacation time to commemorate the national liberation (April 30) and international Labor Day (May 1.)
The Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism said that the event drew 100,743 visitors in last year's fireworks competition, and they are predicting 50% more visitors this year.
The fourth annual contest will attract five teams: the British Jubilee Fireworks Company, the South Korean Hanwha Company, Italian Parente Fireworks A&C SNC Company, Chinese Panda Fireworks Company and the host team Da Nang.
From April 24 to May 2, DIFC 2011 features an array of activities including a sports performance, lantern flower parade on Han River, lighting performance and firework photo exhibition.
Due to the busyness, the provincial government and tourist agencies are getting headaches in trying to provide the best hospitality the city can offer.
Ngo Thi Hoang Anh, a deputy manager at the Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism said 11,890 rooms in the city have already been booked. The hotels located along the Han River, the central venue of the event, were full for the weekend nearly six months ago.
"There are some hotels and motels in suburbs left, but there is not enough room for group of tourists" Anh said. "The Da Nang Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism has collaborated with 80 hotels in Quang Nam Province's Hoi An town and 16 in Hue City's Lang Co to help accommodate the overflow of people. But nearly 3,377 rooms in these two places are already occupied."
Dinh Van Loc, director of Viet Da Tourist Company said booking transportation like plane and train tickets, also creates challenges for tourist agencies during such a popular holiday.
"The well-prepared tourist won't face problems, while those who are behind in booking will have no choice but to spend more money for a place," said Loc. "As far as my knowledge, the train tickets are sold out while the coach price for flights will increase 10% more due to the cost of petrol."
The price of tours to Da Nang also increases 20% to 50% more this weekend. The Da Nang government has also asked owners of hotels not to overcharge the customers by checking their operating expenses.
However, Loc said that it is too late for requesting the hotels and motels to commit on setting regular prices.
"The tourist companies and their clients have already made their reservations far in advance, and the hotels have already raised their prices. For instance, it can vary from VND 400,000 to VND1, 500,000 for a room per night during the holiday. If we refuse to book, the other agencies are ready to pay inflated prices to please their clients," said Loc.
The event is also the breeding season for black market tickets. One week before the opening ceremony on April 29, tickets at the organizer's official booths are always announced to be sold out.
Scalpers will help reach demand by selling tickets at inflated prices to those that failed to plan.
Even the VIP tickets, which should have been saved for the governmental officers, sponsors or special guests, are available in the brokers' list. The price will be pushed up to VND1, 800,000 for of a couple of VIP tickets.
Tickets sold online can have an unlimited price. A seat on the cruise traveling the Han River could be purchased from VND900, 000 to over VND1, 500,000.
The Da Nang Committee of the Party also assigns the Headquarter of Da Nang Border Police to have an eye on the business activities of the city's cruises and boats.
This year DIFC has made public the hotline numbers of Da Nang's Market Management Agency (0511.3825467 - 0903 502480) and Inspector at the Da Nang Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism (0511.3886761 - 0905 155159).
The live hotlines are aimed at preventing visitors from being overcharged in the city's tourist businesses and parking lots.