Vietnamese travelers are increasingly opting for road trips within the country or to neighboring Southeast Asian countries in 2024 due to a significant rise in domestic airfares.

Road Tourism on the Rise

Nguyen Huu Cuong, an expert from the UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club, notes that air ticket prices have surged by 150-200% this year compared to 2023. Travel agencies are only interested in distributing tickets for routes priced at VND3.5 million (approximately $145), such as Hanoi-Danang. Once-popular destinations like Phu Quoc Island have become less appealing as flight prices have increased from VND4-6 million to VND6-8.5 million ($166-$355) this year.

As a result, travel agencies are shifting their focus to destinations accessible by car or train, including beaches in Thanh Hoa (Sam Son, Hai Hoa), Nghe An (Cua Lo, Cua Hoi), Ha Tinh (Thien Cam), and Quang Binh (Nhat Le), as well as Sapa in Lao Cai, Cat Ba Archipelago in Haiphong, and the ever-popular Ha Long Bay and Co To Island in Quang Ninh.

Tourists on a Ha Long Bay cruise have the option to spend the night on the bay or opt for a day trip to enjoy the stunning scenery and on-deck entertainment.

“While road trips have always been a part of our marketing programs, this year, we’re focusing on affordable tour packages by car within a 500 km radius, lasting 2-5 days,” Cuong added.

Hanh Tran, travel director at My Phuc Happy Travel, shares a similar view, predicting that Ha Long Bay and the Cat Ba Archipelago will be go-to destinations this year as they fit the criteria for road trips within a 300 km radius. A two-day trip to these destinations would cost approximately VND2.5 million ($100) per person, making them an attractive option.

Nguyen Hong Nhat, CEO of APC Corporation, which operates the Ambassador cruise, adds that the Ha Long Bay cruise is a summer favorite among domestic and international tourists. The Ambassador cruise offers both night tours and day trips, with additional attractions like nightly fireworks and art performances on the deck, creating a floating stage experience.

Exploring Beyond Borders

Vietnamese travelers are also taking advantage of cheaper international airfares during the summer, with popular destinations including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan. Le Tan Thanh Tung, Deputy CEO of Vitratour, notes that the total cost of traveling abroad can sometimes be lower than domestic travel due to more affordable airline tickets.

The cultural and culinary similarities between Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries are a draw for Vietnamese tourists.

Hanoi tourism companies offer a range of package tours to Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Jiuzhaigou in China, as well as Southeast Asian destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, with flights operated by Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, and Vietravel Airlines.

While there have been increases in certain product prices due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and airport fees, these changes are not significant, according to Tung.

The Outbox Company, a leading market research and data analysis firm specializing in Asian hospitality and tourism, published a report titled “Vietnamese Outbound Travel Trends – Summer 2024.” The report reveals that Vietnamese travelers prefer short breaks, with 71.5% opting for trips lasting less than a week. June and July are expected to be the peak months for summer outbound travel.

Travel is becoming an increasingly important part of Vietnamese culture, with 31% of those surveyed willing to spend more on travel experiences and 45.6% maintaining their travel budgets. Additionally, the survey indicates that 79.7% of Vietnamese travelers plan to venture abroad in the next 12 months, with the majority of trips scheduled for this summer.

Intraregional travel continues to dominate, with 64.4% of Vietnamese tourists choosing nearby Asian destinations for their next trips. Traditional favorites like South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore remain popular, while China has emerged as a new favorite, rounding out the top five destinations.

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