Monday, October 06, 2008

Developing Adventure Tours In Viet Nam

First introduced to Viet Nam at the end of 1990s by a French group, adventure tours are a growing choice for travellers to Viet Nam.

According to international experts, three quarters of Viet Nam's territory is made up of mountains, rivers and oceans, caves and forests just waiting to be explored.

They say this provides all the right conditions for developing everything from motorbike, bicycle, car and boat touring along with mountain climbing, ocean diving, ballooning and parachuting.

This relatively new form of tourism is thought to be developing in the country due to growing demand, and also because travel agents are delivering more tours and providing better safety measures and equipment.

Buffalo Tours says it pioneered adventure tourism 14 years ago. With its annual growth of 20-30 percent, it says it holds a strong position in Viet Nam’s tourism market.

Buffalo Tours’ founder Tran Trong Kien said his company has cooperated with more than 200 travel agents worldwide to provide adventure tours in Viet Nam for around 12,000 holiday-makers per year.

Apart from Buffalo Tours, other big travel agents in the country have joined the field, including Hong Bang, Hanoitourism, Saigontourist and Tre Xanh.

With 10 years experience in adventure tourism, Hong Bang Travel is well-known for its mountain climbing tours.

The company is now planning to join the Dong Nai Tourism Company to launch what they say will be the first adventure entertainment zone in Viet Nam . To be located at south-eastern Dong Nai province’s Buu Long tourism resort, the companies are calling the new adventure tour “X-Venture”.

Ocean diving and motorbike riding tours are also popular, especially among international visitors.

In 2007, Saigontourist organised ocean diving for almost 20 groups, most of which were foreigners.

“Since 2003, we have organised trans-Viet Nam tours for motorbike riders,” Saigontourist Thanh Tra said.

Doi cave in Phan Thiet, Quan Am cave in Ngu Hanh Son mountain, mountain cliffs in Con Dao and around Vinh Hoa stream, and the Death Abyss in Datanla have also become attractive destinations for visitors who love a physical challenge.

However, the development of this type of tourism faces many difficulties.

A travel and tourism expert says procedures for organising such tours remain complicated and time consuming.

The National Administration of Tourism says there has not yet conducted a intense research on adventure tours due to the fact adventure tourism remains limited compared with the country’s other tourism options and visitors’ increasing demands.