Hotels have less tourists, more competitors
The 3-5 star hotels in HCM City rush to lower the hotel room rates and run sale promotion programs amid the modest growth rate in the number of foreign tourists. Meanwhile, they have to compete with apartment developers, who also provide short term accommodations.
The HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has estimated that about 246,000 foreign travelers arrived in Vietnam in July and 2.15 million in the first seven months of the year. The figures represent a modest growth rate of 5.5 percent, a lower growth rate in comparison with the same period of the last year.
Since the number of foreign tourists increased more slightly than expected, the hotels in the city had to cut down the hotel room rates and offer preferences to guests.
Travel firms have confirmed that the room rate in HCM City has decreased. Especially, hotels have offered big preferences to the travelers from Asian markets. In general, Asian travelers book tours later than European travelers, just some days before the departure time. Therefore, the sale promotion campaigns would show effects immediately in attracting tourists.
According to Bui Viet Thuy Tien, Managing Director of Asian Trails, hotels have offered the discount rates of 5-10 percent on average.
The Q2 report of Savills Vietnam, a real estate consultancy firm, showed that the hotel room rate and the average occupancy rate of the hotels in HCM City has been on the decrease.
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The average hotel room rate is VND1.750 million per room per night, down by 12 percent over the same period of 2012, while the average room occupancy rate is 62 percent.
According to Savills Vietnam, the 4-5 star hotels in the center of the city have been operating better than that in other areas, but the 3-star hotels in the other areas have been operating better than that in the central area. In general, the 3-star hotels in the suburbs target domestic travelers and foreign backpackers who prefer saying at cheaper hotel rooms.
Not only does the decrease in the tourist growth rate cause a big headache to hotels, they now also have to deal with another problem – the appearance of new rivals.
In principle, hotels and apartments target two different groups of clients. While hotels provide short term accommodation services, apartments target the clients who plan long term stay. While hotels serve breakfast, the clients staying at apartments don’t receive the service.
However, apartment developers now tend to scramble for clients with hotels when offering flexible room rent services.
Capri by Fraser, the apartment building which joined the market in early March, has leased rooms to the clients’ orders. They can choose long term renting, or rent by days.
Located in Phu My Hung urban area in district 7 in HCM City, the building has 175 apartments for rent at VND1.6 million ($75) per night and VND25 million ($1,200) per month. The above said rates include the fees for the breakfasts. This means that the clients staying at the apartments would receive the same services as if they are in hotels.
SSG Group has put the Saigon Airport Plaza building, located near the Tan Son Nhat airport, into operation. This is a complex of apartments and offices for rent, and 84 service apartments.
The rates here are VND25-29 million for a month stay and VND1.4 million for a day stay.
Mong village becomes latest tourist destination in Sa Pa
Travellers who love to discover the beauty of the northwestern mountains now have a new must-see destination when coming to the mountain resort town of Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, which is Ma Tra Village of the Mong ethnic people.
Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Mong village, traditional crafts, silver carving, tourist attractions
Mong ethnic people in Sa Pa.
About five kilometres to the southeast of Sa Pa Town, Ma Tra in Sa Pa Commune is home to nearly 50 households, which all belong to the Mong minority ethnic group.
According to Giang A Chu, Secretary of Sa Pa commune’s Party Committee, the local people have restored several traditional crafts such as weaving, metal forging and silver carving.
Concrete roads now connect 60 percent of the commune’s houses, while cattle pens are moved far away from the houses to ensure environmental hygiene.
The hamlet also has an art troupe, including folk artisans and those who have a thorough knowledge of the locality’s history, custom and tourist attractions.
To come to Ma Tra, visitors can take the tour from Sa Pa Town to Sa Pa Commune, which also goes to Hau Thao, Su Pan and Ta Van.
It’s tough to leave misty Sapa
For over a century people from all over the world have experienced the magnificent and misty mountains, splendid rice terraced fields, endless flower hills, vaporous layers of clouds and snow which makes Sapa the landscape of dreams.
A splendid view of Sapa.
And also in fell in love with the land and have been so sad to leave the picture-book area.
From its early days, the valley which is famous for having four seasons in one day, has become home to Ta Van plum and Sa Pa peach, specialties in Sapa.
In spring, Sapa wins peoples’ hearts with its thousands of pink peach blossoms overwhelming mountains, hills and valleys as well as the road to Fan Xi Pang peak and through Hoang Lien Son Range.
From Ham Rong Mountain peak, we can see the town colored like a giant pink carpet. Moreover, it looks more interesting dotted with the multicolored Mong girls’ dresses. In spring nights, they listen to flute sounds of village boys and follow the melodies to find their lovers.
In spring, time is counted by market times with traditional festivities, twitter of birds, laughter of kids and the echo of horses running wild.
In a silent way, Sapa sends the love of nature into each traveler’s heart. And of course, they themselves cannot deny the beauty of what they are witnessing with rivers, silver waterfalls, paddy fields, sunset over the town and Muong Hoa Valley.
That attractive scenery seduces them to explore daily life of ethnic people, old stilt houses, wild flowers, and wine drinking nights under a flickering camp-fire.
Images of ladies in weaving rooms are also an unforgettable sight in Sapa.
Market survey firms, which believe that more and more high income