Vietnam alert on travel
HO CHI MINH, 7 November 2011 – Most tour operators in Vietnam have suspended tours to Thailand , Vietnam Administration of Tourism revealed last week.
VNAT advised tour operators selling Thailand trips to either suspend or postpone trips to Thailand saying the flood crisis was a serious risk to travellers.
Also it suggested Vietnamese already staying in Thailand to contact the embassy in an emergency situation.
Viettravel, a major tour operator in Vietnam, said there were no bookings for Thailand through the first week of November. Whatever is in the booking pipeline the message to travellers is to their trips will need to be postponed the company explained.
According to Viettravel, it usually has bookings for 100 travellers a week.
TST Tourist Company confirmed it had cancelled travel packages to Thailand until 10 November affecting around 30 passengers last week.
Normally the company will have two to three groups travelling to Thailand a week. Flights for travel up to 10 November have been refunded.
Despite the tour cancellations , flights are operating normally from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Last year, 420,000 Vietnamese travelled to Thailand and during the first nine months of this year over 417,000 had visited the country.
The flood crisis has seriously limited travel to the capital and to provinces in the central plains.
However, resort destinations in Thailand including Pattaya in Chonburi, Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan as well as destination in the North are open and packed with tourists mainly locals escaping the flood in the capital.
Phuket, Samui Island and Phang Nga in South Thailand are also enjoying a boom in travel.
Repeat travellers that represent around 47% of visits to the country generally avoid the capital heading for their favourite destinations, mainly beach resorts, directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport.
This trend continues. Pattaya is packed with visitors. Hotels are fully booked and even houses and condominiums on minimum monthly rentals of Bt50,000 to Bt80,000 are fully booked through to the end of December.
Pattaya is sprawling city by the sea just 90 km east of the airport on Motorway 7. It takes one hour to reach the city and from here there are highways that by-pass the flooded provinces to the Northeast and North.
It is by far the most convenient choice to establish a base to tour Thailand and has all the shopping and service facilities that were available in Bangkok prior to the floods.