The central city of Da Nang has kick-started its drive to boost tourism demand during the off-peak season running from September to December.

A wide array of promotions is on offer, with discounts of 20-25 percent.

Luxury hotels like Furama, Green Plaza, Mercure, Sandy Beach and Phuong Dong are offering room rate reductions between 15 and 50 percent. Other draws like the Cham sculpture museum, Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain and Ba Na Hills mountain resort also cut their ticket prices by 20-50 percent.

Travel agencies in the city, however, are suffering from poor sales of package tours though the National Day holiday is approaching.

A majority of them forecast that the number of holidaymakers will plummet by 30 percent from the same period last year, largely due to the short holiday and back-to-school season this month.

Travel powerhouses like Vitours, Saigontourist and Vietravel said the number of tourists travelling inbound in August was down 30-40 percent from July, adding that short-haul packages lasting 1-5 days account for 70-75 percent of booked tours.

The outbound tourist market, by contrast, appears upbeat. Some 3-5 day trips to regional countries like Hong Kong, China, Singapore, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Cambodia and Thailand are preferred over those to Europe.

Thanks to the opening of the Da Nang – Seoul air route on July 1, the RoK has become popular among vacationers, reflected in a threefold rise in bookings over the same period last year.

A Saigontourist agency in Da Nang said prices of each Asian tour are reduced by 500,000–1 million VND (23–47 USD) while those to Europe are down 3-5 million VND (142–238 USD).

Falling tourism demand is also expected to push visits by train or coach down 30-40 percent year-on-year. Currently, all transport firms at Da Nang station pledge not to raise ticket prices during the holiday.-VNA