The upcoming holiday season has heated up the tourism market with an increase in the tours being booked despite the ongoing economic crisis.

Several travel agencies say that their Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year tours are already fully booked.

Nguyen Minh Man, marketing and communication deputy director of Vietravel, said the information that employees would get four days off for the New Year and nine days off for Tet (Lunar New Year) has roused the tourism market.

Vietravel has around 300 inbound and outbound tours to serve customers on these occasions.
Man said Vietravel expected to serve 75,000 customers from end of this month to March 2013, up 25 percent year-on-year.

This year, the number of customers choosing to visit domestic destinations including Hanoi , Sapa, Hoi An, Hue , Da Nang , as well as attractions in the northwest and northeastern part of the country from HCM City has increased significantly in comparison to the same period last year, Man said.
Many tours had to be closed soon because flight tickets were not available, he said.
Saigontourist, a leading travel firm, has launched 50 tours for New Year and 300 tours for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Doan Thi Thanh Tra, head of Saigontourist's marketing department, said one of the company's strengths was serving overseas Vietnamese returning to their motherland to celebrate Tet, or bringing their families and friends over to tour the country.

The company expects to have 6,000 customers for the New Year holiday, up 10 percent year-on-year.

It hopes to serve 20,000 tourists during the Tet holiday, 7,000 of whom are expected to use outbound tours, up 15 percent over last year.
Saigontourist is going to open new tours to respond to customer demands, Tra said. She noted that the company's tours on this occasion have not increased in price, but include additional services.

The prices of several tours to Thailand and Singapore have gone up by 5-7 percent due to increases in airfares, she added.

The Viet Media Travel company is offering a special promotion under which discounts of up to 3 million VND are being offered for bookings made before end of this month for tours departing during the Tet holiday.

Group bookings will receive additional discounts, a company representative said.

He said Viet Media Travel expects to serve 6,000 customers this Tet, 60 percent of whom will take outbound tours.

Lien Bang Travelink has also launched new outbound tours to Taiwan , America , Singapore and Malaysia as its existing tours are almost fully booked.

Besides, the company is offering discounts of 200,000 to 400,000 VND on domestic tours booked before the end of this month.-VNA