HO CHI MINH CITY (Xinhua) – Russia’s economic gloom, especially the current devaluation of the ruble, is expected to affect Vietnam’s tourism right from the beginning of 2015, local media reported.
On December 16, the Russian central bank raised its key interest rate to 17 per cent from 10.5 per cent and the ruble fell beyond 60 to the US dollar.
These economic difficulties have affected the spending plans of the Russian people, and it is expected that their travel budgets will be the first to be cut, said a senior tourism official in Vietnam’s central Khanh Hoa Province.
The number of Russian tourists arriving in Vietnam is expected to decline in the near future, said Nguyen Van Thanh, steering deputy chairman of the province’s Tourism Association.
“Russia’s economic downturn has not affected the province’s tourism industry yet, but soon it would be a difficult time for travel firms,” he said, quoted by the Vietnam News daily.
The period between November and April is the peak season for Russian visitors coming to Vietnam, and many of them prefer Nha Trang, the capital city of Khanh Hoa province, for its beautiful beaches.
Some travel firms in the province reported that the number of Russian tourists to Vietnam in December has not decreased, but a number of tours have been cancelled.
Nguyen Duc Tan, managing director of Anex Tour Vietnam, told local online VNExpress that, as of December, daily bookings had decreased from 200 to 70-80 per day, a reduction of 60 per cent.
He said that his company set a target of receiving 120,000 visitors from Russia in 2014, a four-time increase compared with the previous year, but it turned out to be difficult to reach the target.
In 2013, a four-star hotel room in Nha Trang cost a Russian couple 800 US dollars, or 28,000 rubles, but it has recently climbed to 49,000 rubles due to the devaluation.
To lure more tourists, many Vietnamese travel firms offer a discount of 25-30 per cent for accommodation in large hotels, and 15 per cent in smaller hotels.
Normally, visitors often spend two-thirds of their budget for airlines tickets and one-third for hotels. If hotels support tourist agencies by reducing room rates, the travel firms may overcome difficulties, said the tourism official.