Russia travel firms gauge local market

Representatives of 10 Russian travel agencies have started to survey tourism services and products in a number of destinations in Vietnam including Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island.

The survey program is being organized by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) in cooperation with Vietnam Airlines and Anh Duong Co. Ltd.

According to VNAT, Russia is one of the key source markets of Vietnam with most of the visitors from that country booking tours to Nha Trang, Binh Thuan and other destinations. More than 260,000 Russians came to Vietnam in the first 10 months of this year.

A number of local travel firms have launched marketing programs and discount products for Russians to help revive the number of visitors from that market after months of sharp decline due to the strong depreciation of the Russian rouble against the US dollar. 

Russian tourists have been cautious about Egypt after a Russian plane was downed by a bomb over the Sinai. Egypt was the leading overseas destination for Russian tourists before the tragedy killed all the 224 people on board.   

Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairwoman of Pegas Misr Travel Vietnam, said her partners in Russia are finding destinations for Russian holidaymakers because now is the peak season for Russians to vacation abroad to escape a freezing winter.

Countries in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and Thailand, are on the radar of Russian tourists as these nations have beautiful beaches and good weather despite high costs.

Vietnam travel firms can serve many more Russian tourists this year if they work closely with their Russian partners, Thu said.

Thu said her company earlier targeted to welcome around 100,000 Russian tourists this year due to tough market conditions but now expects 150,000.