Poor railway tourism products hinders tourism industry development

Having a 2600 kilometre railway with hundreds of staple routes along the North-South backbone, War plant cannot work travelers to prefer railways services. Statistics Sapa trainshowed that the travelers that select railways for their tours honorable reason for lower than 10 pct of national passenger instrumentality.

Whatsoever jaunt firms in Warfare said that in Vietnam there is only the activity of carrying passengers by trains, patch there are console no track business products in the right sentience of the statement, though whatever routes change been premeditated to foster tours, including the Hanoi - Lao Cai, Hanoi - Vinh, Hanoi - HCM Port, HCM Metropolis - Nha Trang or Hanoi - Nam Dinh tours.

According to travel firms, a tourism product’s attractiveness can be measured by the passenger’s satisfaction and the number of passengers. If referring to the two criteria, only the Hanoi – Lao Cai route could be seen as a railway tourism product.

Luu Duc Ke, Director of Hanoitourist, said that only the Hanoi – Lao Cai route has been exploited in the most effective way. This is also the route which sees the number of tourists increasing gradually year after year. A lot of travel firms have also made investment to develop the route. However, it’s still far from concluding that the service is perfect.


Meanwhile, the railway along the key Highway 1A, which is thought to have the biggest transport advantages, has not got appropriate investment.


Besides the disadvantages of railway tourism, including the required longer time of traveling than aircrafts or cars, railway tourists now have to face too many other problems, such as the bad conditions of rails, the natural calamities in the central region. Especially, local residents sometimes throw stones and bricks into the running trains, which badly affect the feelings of tourists. Therefore, travel firms themselves also do not want to spend money to develop the railways.


SapaSince late 2010, when some travel firms began applying the policy on stabilizing the tour fees by diversifying the means of transport, and encouraging to travel on train to save money, the number of railway passengers on the 1A route has been increasing.


However, passengers complain that the quality of the service has not been much improved. The upgrading in interior and train services cannot offset the degrading of the carriages and professional servicemen.


Nguyen Minh Man, a senior executive of Vietravel, said that most travel firms use all the air, railway and land transport means for their domestic tours. The number of passengers remain high for the long distance routes such as the HCM City – Hanoi one. However, it is clear that train is less attractive than airplane due to the disadvantages in time and price.


While railway a ticket is not much cheaper than an airway ticket, passengers have to spend much more time on the way for the same distance, while the railway services are clearly worse.


Railway servicemen and travel firms many times sat together to discuss the cooperation solutions. However, it seems that no common voice has been found. Railway servicemen complain that travel firms cannot provide stable numbers of passengers: while the number is overly high on weekend or holidays, the number is too low on ordinary days.


Meanwhile, Ke has emphasized that railway cannot compete with other means of transport because of the unreasonable pricing policy and low quality of services, not because passengers do not have high demand for traveling, or because travelers are not interested in railway.Fanxipan express train


“Problems also exist in the distribution. Travelers cannot book tickets directly, but through intermediaries. Meanwhile, passengers cannot book tickets several months before the departure time,” Ke said.


To prove the viewpoint, Ke said that foreign travelers always book tours nearly one year in advance. Meanwhile, travel firms still cannot book tickets for the 2012 Tet.


“With such way of doing business, railway will not be able to attract many travelers,” he said.


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