A number of five-star tourist ships in Ha Long Bay have attracted a lot of local customers with deep discount programmes.

  Ha Long Bay tourist ships attract customers with discounts

Ha from a tour agent said the discount programmes were offered to the market since early May. Customers have to pay VND2.15m (USD92) a person to get a double room on five-star Golden Cruise, the cost for a single room is VND3.2m. A double room on the President Cruises Ha Long from Sunday to Thursday used to cost VND7.1m but the price dropped to VND4.8m. The price during the weekends was VND6.5m.

Ha said several ships had been fully booked for May and almost all of June.

The main targeted customers of the five-star tourist ships in Ha Long Bay are foreign tourists. As the tourism industry has suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic, firms are trying every way to attract local customers. Nguyen Duc Anh, CEO of Vplus Vietnam, said five-star ships like Paradise or Bhaya Cruises dropped prices by 30-40%. Such prices are suitable for domestic customers with middle or high incomes and want to enjoy luxury services. Anh is also targeting family group and business is looking good.

Nguyen Thu Hanh from Hanoi said her parents-in-law really wanted to be on Ha Long Bay cruises so she booked a two day and one night trip for the family.

“Our family has four adults and two children. It costs us over VND8m. I think it’s reasonable and we have shuttle trips too,” she said.

Cao Tuong Huy, vice chairman of Quang Ninh People’s Committee, said they had launched many stimulus programmes such as exempting entrance fees to various tourist spots from May 14 to June 1. The stimulus package is estimated to be worth around VND200bn (USD8.5m).

However, there are opinions that the package will not be effective because it does not include overnight tours and only applied for special days. Meanwhile, overnight vessels are what make most revenues. As firms are trying to find ways to maintain businesses without profits, Quang Ninh authorities should have stronger and more long-term plan.

Nguyen Tien Dat, director of AZA Travel, agreed that prices could drop even lower to attract more local customers but the packages should include overnight stays. The overnight fee is still from VND500,000 (USD21) to VND750,000 per person a night.

“If the fees are not waived entirely then it should be reduced by half to boost businesses for hundreds of ships. If the vessels are not put into use, they will not create jobs or revenues and will become rusty,” Dat said.

Many tourists have switched to cruises on Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba due to new services and cheaper prices. According to Anh, firms need to put our more promotion for high-class services and child-friendly tours.

Quang Ninh will not be able to meet the set goal to welcome 16 million tourists including 6.5 million international tourists in 2020. In the first quarter, the total number of tourists dropped by 72% in Quang Ninh and 43% in Ha Long in particular. Total revenue from tourism also dropped by 72% compared to the same period last year.

In 2019, tourism industry contributed 12.5% of the provincial GDP. Vietnamnet/Dtinews

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