Inside Son Doong Cave. Photo credit: Oxalis Adventure Tours
An exclusive adventure tour into Vietnam's Son Doong Cave, the largest in the world, is fully booked until 2015, a tourism official has said.
Nguyen Van Ky, deputy director of Quang Binh Province's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told news website Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon (Saigon Times) that Oxalis Adventure Tours, the sole tour organizer permitted to enter Son Doong Cave, organizes only four caving and trekking tours each month with just eight persons per tour.
Ky said the tours in 2014 have been fully booked and schedules for the tours have all been made, while the whole of 2015 is nearly full too.
Each tour lasts seven days and costs US$3,000 each tourist.
Last year, Quang Binh officials allowed Oxalis to open tours for three months. This year, the tours took place from February to August.
From September, when the rainy season starts in Quang Binh and the tours must take a break, the local government and Oxalis will discuss if they should open more tours in the years to come given the huge demand.
Ky said the local government will consider allowing more tourists and more tour operators into the cave.
Son Doong, which is 150 meters high and 200 meters wide, became known worldwide in 2009 when it was explored by members of the British Cave Research Association led by Howard Limbert and his wife Deb Limbert, guided by local resident Ho Khanh.