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Prices up for premium products in Indochina
Pauline Tan, Langkawi

Pauline Tan, Langkawi  
(27th Jan 2005)

DEMAND for Indochina's top performers, Cambodia and Vietnam, is driving prices up in the premium category, and rates will rise another 10 to 15 per cent in the 2005 contracting season.

Vidotour director of marketing, Ms Helen Lowy, said: “The suppliers catering to this segment are increasing, but so are the number of high-end travellers looking for new experiences.

“The customer profile has changed tremendously over the past four years, allowing us to specialise in the premium to deluxe end of the market.”

Sasco Tours travel services manager, Mr Steve Kinlough, agreed at least a 10 per cent hike was to be expected in the luxury segment, as supply was still very tight. But he said pricing in the mid- to low-end was heading south.

“The guesthouses and two stars can no longer command US$20 per night rates. It's more like US$7 per night. This is because there are more of them.”

In both Vietnam and Cambodia, Japanese, South Koreans and Taiwanese are top arrivals markets, generating the volume for mass market supplier inventories. The French, US and UK markets lead the westerners.

Vidotour acting director of marketing, Mr Nguyen Thien Phuc, said Cambodia particularly had made good on its commitment to a better road network. “The 10-hour journey from Phnom Penh to Battambang is now possible in four hours. It is safer for tourists as they can travel in the morning, it opens the old French colonial town of Battambang as a tourist stop, and from Battambang, clients can take a boat to Siem Reap. This way, we bypass the internal flight to Siem Reap.”

He added it was now much more comfortable to make the trip from Thailand to Siem Reap overland too, with the speedier roads allowing a stop at Banteay Chhmar temple.Also, he said this year would see Sihanoukville gain prominence and raise awareness of Cambodia's beach resort options.

Sasco, Vietnam Airlines' tour arm, is equally positive regarding new destinations. “A lot of older Europeans are visiting Vietnam, now that there are more quality hotels. Product development is driving traffic to new places, and in 2005, Sapa and Phan Thiet will gain.”

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