Ticket bookings for Tet low

Published: 01/12/2008 05:00



VietNamNet BridgeAirlines as well as operators of trains and coaches, who are selling tickets for the trips on the peak days of upcoming Tet holiday (Lunar New Year), agree that bookings do not grow as fast as expected.

Passengers flood the Saigon Railway Station to buy train tickets for their travel during the upcoming Tet.

The transportation operators attribute lower-than-expected demand to the fact that many Vietnamese people are tightening their purse string for holiday because of economic woes in Vietnam, while the international financial crisis has affected foreigners’ plans for vacations in this country.

The management of Saigon Railway Station said there remained fares for the trains departing from HCMC to Danang, Hue city and Hanoi a week ahead of Tet. Last week, the station started to sell tickets via SMS and at the station for the trains from HCMC to the central stations in Nha Trang, Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai, Hue and Danang on January 24, or two days before Tet.

As for air travel, Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific said they had almost sold the seats on flights from HCMC to Hanoi on the days close to Lunar New Year’s Day. However, the airlines still have tickets for the other days.

“We still have seats on good planes during Tet holiday,” Do Anh Tuan, commercial director of Indochina Airlines, told the Daily on the phone. Now, passengers can book economy-class fares on the website of the first private airline in Vietnam for the trip departing from HCMC to Hanoi days just before Lunar New Year’s Day.

Last week, Vietnam Airlines announced to sell 12,000 promotional fares lower than normal fares from December 15 till February 6 as part of the national flag air carrier’s annual program entitled “Happiness for Family Reunion.”

The airline knocks off 50% of the seats on certain flights from Hanoi and Danang to HCMC from February 1 to 25. Meanwhile, there are fares valued at VND400,000 and VND600,000 for a single trip between HCMC and Danang, and VND900,000 and VND1.1 million for a trip between here and Hanoi. These fares will be for the flights from January 30 to February 6, or after Tet, which falls on January 26.

Jetstar Pacific said seats had run out on the planes from HCMC to Hanoi one to five days before Tet, but are still available on the other days.

Jetstar Pacific and other airlines are of the opinion that the demand for air travel in the coming Tet is higher than the last occasion, but it is too early to ascertain the growth rate.

Demand lower than projected

Transportation operators predict demand is up 10-15% this Tet compared with the last holiday, an increase that they say lower than previously projected.

Nguyen Ngoc Thua, director of Mien Dong Coach Station One-member Ltd., said the company was planning an increase of 10% in the number of passenger vehicles.

Mien Dong Coach Station in Binh Thanh District mobilized around 14,500 vehicles to transport 390,000 passengers on the days in the run up to last Tet. Nearly 16,000 vehicles able to transport some 430,000 passengers are planned for the upcoming Tet.

Thua expected transportation demand would grow on the routes from HCMC to Hanoi, Thanh Hoa, Nam Dinh, Thua Thien-Hue, Nghe An, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Gia Lai and Daklak.

The railway sector is also gearing up for Tet. Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuong, chief of Saigon Railway Station, said the station sold 10,000 tickets every day for the trains running during the holiday, an increase of a mere 5% over the last occasion.

Thanh said the station would operate 44 trains on the north-south trunk rail during Tet to meet some 30% of the transportation demand for this occasion, and that the rest would be shared by coach operators and airlines.

Train fares for Tet trips between HCMC and Hanoi range from VND641,000 to VND1.276 million, or the same to the levels of normal days.

Airlines do not sell air tickets higher than VND1.7 million, a ceiling level applicable to a single trip between HCMC and Hanoi before, although they are allowed to hike fares.

Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific sell Economy-class highest fares of VND1.7 for a single HCMC-Hanoi trip during Tet, while Indochina Airlines offers one-way tickets of the same class at VND1.65 million.

However, coach fares for Tet are forecast to soar 20-60% compared with the rates of normal days, and operators are expected to announce their final rate increases before December 20.

This year, around 260 coach and bus operators will transport passengers from Mien Dong to their homes during Tet, which is the biggest holiday in Vietnam.

(Source: SGT)

Update from: http://english.vietnamnet.vn//buys/2008/12/816499/

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