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Travel firms worried about further fall in Russian arrivals

The licenses of Pegas Touristik, Anex Tour, Coral Travel and 16 other firms were not renewed as from January 1 for their association with Turkish firms due to tensions between Russia and Turkey, triggered by Turkey’s shooting down a Russian jet fighter in November last year.

Pegas Touristik, Anex Tour, Coral Travel arranged tours for a majority of Russian visitors to Vietnam, so resorts, hotels and travel firms in Vietnam which are dependent on Russian guests have felt impact.

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Many resorts in the central provinces of Binh Thuan and Khanh Hoa and partners of the three companies are keeping a close watch ondevelopments from the Russian market.

Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairwoman of Pegas Misr Travel Vietnam Co Ltd, which serves the biggest number of Russian visitors to Vietnam, said she was anxious to know the three companies were unable to have their licenses renewed. However, she is still pinning hopes on the Russian market.

“I have many times contacted parent company Pegas Touristik. The company’s leader said Pegas is determined to maintain its markets, including Vietnam and Thailand, despite difficulties,” Thu said.

Nearly 339,000 Russians visited Vietnam last year and around 130,000 of them arranged by Pegas Misr Travel Vietnam.

Though Thu said the number of chartered flights serving Russian tourists has not declined compared to the time before January 1, many local travel companies and provinces which attracted many Russian travelers before are worried about the impact of the Russian tourism authority’s move on their business performance.

The further fall of the rouble against the U.S. dollar is another concern for local travel firms and hospitality service providers as it makes overseas tours for Russian more expensive.

Russia is emerging as a major source market for Vietnam’s tourism sector.

In a year-end talk with the Daily, the director of a resort in Mui Ne in Phan Thiet City in Binh Thuan Province said on the condition of anonymity that he was in an awkward situation as he had not terminated contracts with his partners despite their debt.

One of the resort’s partners is in difficulty due to the strong depreciation of the rouble against the greenback. In the heyday of the Russian market, the firm sent a large number of Russian tourists to Vietnam and payments were always quick.

However, following the devaluation of Russia’s currency and heightened tensions between Russia and Turkey, the number of guests has dropped significantly, leading to late payments.

Some service providers in Phan Thiet and Nha Trang City in Khanh Hoa Province are also in the same boat. However, they are not thinking of ending their contracts with Russian partners as Russia is a potential market.

Article by Vietnam Breaking News

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