Travel firms monitor fresh ruble fall

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Local travel firms arranging Vietnam tours for Russian tourists are keeping a close watch on the ruble and may consider scaling down operations if the fresh Russian currency fall shows no sign of abating.

Travel firms monitor fresh ruble fall

A representative of a travel firm, who declined to be named, told the Daily that the company has prepared a plan for the year-end travel season but the scale of the plan might be reduced if the Russian currency slides further against the U.S. dollar as this would affect the number of Russian visitors to Vietnam.

He said if the greenback trades at around 50 rubles per dollar, his company could try to maintain operations to wait for better days.

Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairwoman of International Travel Pegas Vietnam Co. Ltd. (Pegas Travel Vietnam), said the unexpected sharp fall of the ruble in the past week had led her firm to delay its decisions on the number of chartered flights between Vietnam and Russia as well as the resumption of chartered flights linking HCMC and Russia this October.

“The number of Russian visitors grew strongly when the Russian currency rose to 30 rubles per dollar. We tried to arrange more flights when the exchange rate was 52 rubles per dollar but the situation is very tough now,” Thu said.

Thu said it is difficult to woo more Russians and that a number of Russians have cancelled their bookings for Vietnam tours. The ruble is forecast to dip further.

She noted that despite all this, Pegas Travel Vietnam still drew up programs early this month to attract Russian tourists towards the year-end with the number of chartered flights planned to double the current figure. But these programs are hanging by a thread at the moment.

Russian media early this week reported the travel demand of Russians had plunged sharply.

Data of the General Statistics Office showed 664,985 international tourists have visited Vietnam this month, a 7.5% rise from a year ago. However, the number of international arrivals in the first eight months of this year has fallen by more than 400,000 year-on-year to over 5.06 million.

Meanwhile, the number of domestic tourists in the period has been 45.8 million and tourism revenues have picked up 2.7% to nearly VND235.6 trillion.