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East Sea tensions hit hotel bookings

The tension in the East Sea between Viet Nam and China has led to more booking cancellations for hotels, according to a source.

“There were cancellations across three-, four- and five-star hotels through July this year,” Kenneth Atkinson, managing chairman of the accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton Vietnam, said at a press briefing held to release the company’s annual report on hotels on Wednesday.

A total of almost 15,000 nights were cancelled, with the majority in the Ha Long area in the north and Da Nang in the centre, based on 18 hotels surveyed, he added.

According to the report that covered around 70 three- to four-star hotels and resorts conducted between Mach and June, the average occupancy rate increased 2.4 per cent in 2013, with the north showing an improvement of 2.7 per cent (in 2012 it had fallen by 1.7 per cent), while the south fell by 1.7 per cent.

The Centre and Central Highlands posted the highest growth of 3.7 per cent.

Four- and five-star hotels showed a growth rate of 3.6 and 4.7 per cent, respectively, while three-star facilities suffered an 8.1-percent drop. By region, the Centre and the Central Highlands experienced a loss of 7.5 per cent, and the North, 2.6 per cent. Meanwhile, the South enjoyed an increase of 3 per cent to over $90 per night.

The earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was 34 per cent, an increase of 5.8 per cent for this high-end segment.

Individual tourists accounted for 35.3 per cent, and tour groups over 31 per cent, while business travelers made up over 16 per cent of total guests.

Guests from the Europe represented over 29 per cent, followed by Vietnamese (24.7 per cent) and from other Asian markets (22.4 per cent). “Much effort is needed to continue to promote Viet Nam as a destination to higher spending markets of Europe and North America as well as to MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions),” said Atkinson.

“Higher visa costs for foreign visitors compared with other neighboring countries is also a disadvantage, as well as the complicated visa application process,” he said.

In addition, a lack of trained human resources is likely to challenge some of the country’s tourism destinations, he added.

Source: VNS/VNN

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