20:44' 11/06/2006 (GMT+7)

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VietNamNet – Travel agents across the country have introduced newly designed tours for the summer. Along with tours to beaches, football events are also a special way to attract more customers.


Tourism enters the high season


Although it is just at the beginning of summer, travel agents have had to increase the number of tours they are running by an additional 2–3 tours every day.  

Many tours to beaches like Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, or those to cooler areas like Da Lat and Sapa, have been fully booked. 

During the first week of June, Saigon Tourist introduced more than 10 new tours for the summer. Other travel agents have also designed new tours to compete.


Most of these tours are more or less the same as old ones. Destinations are well-known places like Nha Trang and Da Lat Phan Thiet.  However, travel agents are offering some new activities along with their tours to make them more attractive.


For example a Saigon Tourist tour to Phan Thiet offers a new kind of transportation. Tourists can now choose to go to Mui Ne beach by bus or train.


The Deputy Head of the Domestic Travel Department of Saigon Tourist said many tourists prefer to go to Mui Ne by train, as the service is good and people can save time when they have short holidays or weekend breaks.


Acitivities for the Saigon Mui Ne tours include going to Taku mountain by cable car, visiting Linh Son Truong Tho pagoda and seeing the 49-meter long Buddha statute, and visiting the last area where  Cham ethnic minority people live.


According to Ms Minh Thuan from Lua Viet travel agency, from now to mid June is the peak time for the summer. Most companies run 2–3 tours every day. The number of tourists is estimated to double from the low season.


Tours in World Cup time


As the weather gets hotter, the most popular tours are to beaches or cool areas like Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Mui Ne, and Da Lat.


Ms Minh Thuan said before her company only ran 2–3 tours to Phu Quoc weekly, but they now run tours to the island daily. Sometimes there are 2–3 tours per day.


Travel agents have not forgotten the impact of the World Cup either. Saigon Tourist has introduced two tours to Da Lat and Nha Trang and, during the tours, tourists will have the chance to watch live soccer matches on widescreen TV. Tour participants will also be given the World Cup bulletin, an information update on the biggest sporting event of the year.


Tours for students 

As travel agents have decided to attract more clients, tour prices are only a little higher than last summer, with prices up by 3–5 %. This means that students can afford them. 

Some travel agents have even designed tours especially for students, such as a Lua Viet travel agency tour which takes people backpacking and camping for 7 days and 6 nights from HCM City to Madagui, to Da Lat, and finishing up in Phan Thiet. Tour participants will be able to exercise their mountain climbing and camping skills. 

Many outbound tours are deisigned to incorporate tourism with finding information on overseas study. Saigon Tourist Company has just launched a new tour called “Summer 2006 Fun”. 

The tour is for students who wish to study abroad. It therefore will not take them to shopping malls or other touristy places but will help them to understand about cultures in foreign countries, and visit foreign universities and high schools. 

People donate to the fund  

The Thanh Nien co-founded charity fund Childhood Assistance was inaugurated Saturday evening in Ho Chi Minh City with a music and fashion show which collected VND748 million (US$46,700).

Addressing the opening ceremony, Dr Duong Quang Trung, the fund’s president and former director of the city’s Health Department, said, “We are in debt to our disabled children. Childhood Assistance (Nang Buoc Tuoi Tho) is dedicated to relieving their misfortune.”


He said half the country’s children under six lived in poor conditions and were undernourished, over 30 percent of those under five were anemic, and a countless number suffered from war-related diseases and complications.


The music show Dem Huyen Dieu (Miracle Night) saw famous artists, singers, and models perform for free. Among them was saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan who returned recently from medical treatment abroad.


An ao dai – a traditional Vietnamese garment – by talented designer Si Hoang was auctioned, raising VND30 million ($1,874) for the fund.


By close the fund had almost raised its full year’s target of US$50,000. Thanh Nien contributed VND100 million ($6,250).


Ho Chi Minh’s Franco-Vietnamese Hospital is the other co-founder.


Reported by Thuc Minh