A cruise docks at Đà Nẵng’s Tiên Sa Port on a tour in Việt Nam. The country’s cruise industry has not yet invested enough to make it a top destination in Asia and the world. VNS Photo Công Thành
ĐÀ NẴNG – The marine tourism sector, which is a top priority of the country’s sea economy Master Plan 2030-45, has been struggling to attract investment in cruise harbours and coastal infrastructure to lure globally branded cruise fleets connected with worldwide destinations.
Chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association Vũ Thế Bình said cruise services are one of the key products in building marine tourism as a core part of the ‘blue sea economy’ plan.
Bình said sea tourism is still dealing with barriers that have blocked business and kept investors at bay for decades.
He said bottlenecks for tourism businesses and investors were the legal framework, destination management and poorly linked tour services among the 28 coastal provinces.
Vũ Duy Vũ, a senior expert of cruise service from Sài Gòn Tourist agency, said less complicated visa arrival procedures, upgrading ports and a highway system connecting ports and destinations are necessary for the cruise industry to thrive.
“Almost all cruises have to dock at cargo ports in Việt Nam, while international standards for entertainment and free-duty shops at arrival ports have yet to be developed,” Vũ said.
“Representative offices of the country’s tourism industry are not available at key cruise markets such as the US, Australia and EU,” he said.
Phạm Hà, CEO of Lux Group, said the port system from Hải Phòng to HCM City was poor quality and could not handle giant luxury or middle class cruise ships.
Hà said his own ship in Hạ Long Bay needs permissions from 18 local authorities to offer on-board night-stay service, while the group’s Emperor Cruise in Nha Trang had to get an international travel certificate to host dinner on board as ordered by the local tourism authority.
He explained that tourists on his cruise had to transship to visit Lan Hạ Bay in neighbouring Hải Phòng after finishing a tour in Bái Tử Long in Hạ Long Bay of Quảng Ninh province.
Hà said a one-stop procedure and GPS control given by port authorities of Quảng Ninh and Hải Phòng can help cruises exchange tour service at both bays.
Vũ Văn Đảo, director of Vũng Tàu Marina, a ship building company, said his company had to close in 2020 due to regulations on ship management and registration.
He said his 20-seat ships using Copolymer Polypropylene Polystone (PPC) from Europe were not registered for operation as no regulations on new materials for ship building existed.
Đảo said his new double-hull sailing boat design was used for hosting sailing festivals, but was refused by the local industrial park management board.
Flexible and quick responses are needed from local administrations to support the tourism business, he said.
Phạm Ngọc Thủy, director of Quảng Ninh provincial department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said every local destination should build their own unique product that would help keep cruise visitors in Việt Nam longer.
Quảng Ninh is a rare locality investing in ports for cruise ships, while Đà Nẵng has begun changing dual-use Tiên Sa Port for cruises only.
Thủy said local ports could be built to link cruise tour services with ports in Singapore and East Asia or Southeast Asia for wider options in different countries and destinations.
Adventurous beach sports, diving, kayaking, fishing, night art performances and entertainment should be included for local cruise fleets, while preferential policies are needed for investors in infrastructure, ship building and cruise ports, Hà added. — VNS
Cong Thanh – Vietnamnews.vn
When you have chance to visit Lan Ha Bay in the Cat Ba Archipelago aboard Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago, besides swimming, climbing or visiting some famous caves, the most activities to discovery Halong Bay is kayaking. Most cruises in Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay offer kayaking. Kayaking will make your Lan Ha Bay trip more interesting, when you get closer to the caves, beaches and limestone Islands. Kayaking is generally assumed to be very safe in these calm waters of the Gulf of Tonkin but there is still some areas and warning that you should avoid and listen to the tour guide. So you should know some steps about kayaking in Lan Ha Bay for your safe and enjoy wonderful trip:
STEP 1- PREPARE BEFORE KAYAKING – IMPORTANT STEP:
• Necessary things: Life vests, water, sun cream, dry bag, camera, insect repellent
• Carefully follow the instructions and conditions before kayaking wear the life vest and use the dry bag (put on it your phone, camera, etc…)
• Prepare suitable clothes: T-shirt and short, swimming suit in the summer; warm clothes in the winter; wet shoes, hat, sunglasses. Lan Ha Bay water is pretty warm during winter so feel free to kayaking anytime of the year. However, keep yourself warm after you are done with the activity to avoid catching a cold.
• Keep a suitable distance with the others, not too far, keep in sight with the others, and avoid getting loss
• Even if you are an experienced kayaker, don’t come too close to caves and karsts. They might suck you in. There are reports of people getting sucked into caves and it took from 30 minutes to hours to rescue them. (especially in Dark Cave or Ba Trai Dao Beaches)
• Never kayaking while being intoxicated. Drinking will dull your sense and might lead to unfortunate accident. There incidents of people drown because of swimming after consuming a large amount of alcohol.
• For the children should be follow the tour guide and their parents. Sit still in the kayak, do not move in front of or behind
• Children under 5 years old is suggest not using kayak
STEP 2 – WHEN YOU KAYAKING:
• It is very important to follow your tour guide, listen to the route, time and rules.
• Check with your tour guide the weather, tide and wind strength to have the best and safest route.
• Keep away from the places which have strong flow, against the wind; take advantage of the wind strength and flow.
STEP 3- HANDLE UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS:
• Adjust the speed of the whole group if any of the members is out of sight.
• In case the kayak capsizes, passengers need to swim a bit, and then take the water out of the kayak with the help of the tour guide. He will catch the kayak; take the water out by putting your kayak on his in the T- shape. After that, he will put the kayak back into the water; keep it still so that passengers can be on the kayak again.
• If there is an expected storm, find the safest place in the sheltered areas, beaches… to avoid the storm. In case passengers are in the middle of the sea and cannot find a safe place, passengers need to be gathered to make a raft kayaking is extremely an interesting activity in Lan Ha Bay. You also can enjoy kayaking for Halong 1 day tour however you only have about 15 to 20 minutes for kayaking at the small floating village (Ba Hang village). Normally with the tour 2 days 1 night, you also have change to kayak at Luon cave, kayak though this cave can bring you an impressive feeling. If you are like kayaking, 3 days 2 nights cruises is a best choice, you will have more time to explore Lan Ha Bay as well as have more than 3 hours for kayaking. In conclusion, kayaking is not difficult and we wish you enjoy it completely. Heritage Binh Chuan offers from 1 to 4 nigt cruise program including kayak experiences, discover more at www.heritagecruises.com
Dark and bright cave
Dark and Bright Cave lie in the bordering area between Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay, this area is located in the protected area of Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve. Coming to Dark and Bright Cave, tourists will be indulged in nature with the blue water and fresh air. The best way to admire the majestic foundation of the cave is to go kayaking or row bamboo boats. Inside Dark and Bright Cave, there are a lot of emulsions and stalactites with different shapes. This is also a safe place for cruises to anchor and provide shelter for fishermen in the rainy season. Adventuring along Dark and Bright Cave, visitors will be overwhelmed by the poetic, lyrical and pristine beauty that Mother Nature has endowed this destination.
About Dark and Bright Cave Halong Bay
Dark Cave and Bright Cave are underwater ones, so the formation of these caves is different from other dry caves. Thus, Dark Cave and Bright Cave possess outstanding and distinguishing beauty. In the process of geological activities in Halong Bay, there are three types of caves which were formed by the impact of water on the karst topography. They are the ancient underground cave, Carxto cave, and frog’s jaw cave. Dark Cave and Bright Cave are frog’s jaw caves, while the cave floor is under the sea, the cave ceiling is beyond the water. With the unique topography and tectonics, the caves are only accessible by boat.
Things to do in Dark and Bright Cave Halong Bay
Tourists coming to Dark and Bright Cave have plentiful interesting options. You can choose to participate in many water activities such as: go kayaking to explore the beauty of the magnificent scenery, sit and sunbathe on the beach or swim and snorkel to discover the marine life.
Dark and Bright Cave is an ideal destination for those who are keen on kayaking and exploring nature. Kayaking is the best way to explore Dark and Bright Cave. With the kayak, visitors can get closer to the foot of the mountain, discover the beauty of nature, clearly see the erosion of water and waves into the limestone cliffs. When rowing into the caves, you are sure to be overwhelmed by the miraculous stalactites on the ceiling and cave walls. This is also a rare chance for you to capture memorable beautiful photos of the majestic Halong Bay.
Go through Bright cave, tourists will come to a lovely valley surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges. This setting gives travellers a feeling of being lost in Heaven. It is such a wonderful experience to sit on the kayak and slowly watch the scenery, breath in the fresh air and feel the harmony among the sea, mountain and sky. You will certainly be happy and full of vitality to get away from your bustling and busy life. Dark and Bright Cave is an ideal place for you which combine the beauty of nature with many sports and activities for tourists to enjoy.
Three Peaches Islet
Ba Trai Dao Islet is cluster of three small limestone mountains, more than 20 meters height, looking like three peaches rising from the water. This is also one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in Halong Bay. Three Peaches Beach shapes like a bow with smooth long white sand and becomes popular among tourists for its unspoiled, charming splendor.
About Ba Trai Dao Islet (Also known as Three Peaches Islet)
A tearful love story about Ba Trai Dao Islet
Legend has it that: Once upon a time, there was a fairy goddess who came to visit Halong Bay, she came to this place and she fell in love with a local poor fisherman. Their love grew stronger that she wanted he lived an immortal life with her forever. In order to do so, she stole three peaches from heaven garden for him. Jade Emperor knew about that and got very angry with her. He turned three peaches into three stone islands to imprison the man and forced the fairy goddess to return to heaven… Nowadays, Ba Trai Dao Islet has become an interesting destination for those who like pristine nature and adventure.
Splendid natural beauty
Come to Ba Trai Dao Islet, you can immerse in the clear blue water, enjoy the beautiful white sand. In sunny days, the water is crystal to see the bottom and ideal to snorkel for watching aquatic life. The beach is surrounded by rocky mountains, so there are no big winds and waves, which is very safe for small children. The cliffs above the beach create exotic shapes offering many photo opportunities for visitors. Moreover, Ba Trai Dao Islet provides an abundance of places for plants to grow and animals to live, creating a very lively natural landscape.
Things to do in Ba Trai Dao Islet
Ba Trai Dao Islet is located in a more secluded part of Halong Bay, there are not too many tourists passing through, so it still retains many wild and rustic features. The most popular activity here is kayaking, almost tour itineraries include kayak for your journey. You can row through the cliff corners, among imposing mountains to explore clear hidden lagoons, varied indigenous flora species, and animals living on limestone islets.
Tourists also enjoy being immersed in the water, swimming and relaxing, sunbathing on the white sand. However, if the tide rise, the whole beach will be under the water. You can only swim and enjoy the beach for 2-3 hours a day, so you should check the tides schedule before going there. Anyway, this is a not-to-miss attraction when coming to Halong Bay. You should bring the camera to capture the beautiful scenery and splendid natural splendor of Ba Trai Dao Islets.
All year round, thousands of tourists come here to sightsee and admire the beauty that Mother Nature has given to this place. Nowadays, Ba Trai Dao Islets is one of the most amazing destinations of Halong Bay that all tourists want to discover and explore.
Cua Van Village
Cua Van Floating Fishing Village is located in Hung Thang commune (Halong city), about 20 km away from Halong Tourist Port. This area is surrounded by majestic limestone mountains, so the water is calm with no big waves, which is ideal for anchorage and people to cluster into a floating village. The village is about tens kilometers far away from the shore, lying alongside stone cliffs.
About Cua Van Floating Fishing Village
The serene beauty of Cua Van Floating Fishing Village
The prestigious travel magazine Journeyetc.com acknowledged Cua Van Floating Fishing Village as one of 16 most beautiful ancient villages in the world due to its ancient charm, beautiful scenery and well-preserved traditional culture. Cua Van Floating Fishing Village lies beneath majestic limestone mountains, floats on the ocean and blends perfectly with natural surroundings. The scenery is extremely romantic and leaves a distinct impression in the hearts of tourists. Cua Van Floating Fishing Village is one of only a few places that still retain the original unspoiled splendor. Local people routines have not disturbed by the bustling pace of modern life.
Floating life of local people
Cua Van Floating Fishing Village originates from two ancient villages named Giang Voong and Truc Vong. Residents of the village have been around for a very long time. Nowadays, there are more than 300 households with over 750 inhabitants live mainly by fishing and fish farming in Cua Van Floating Fishing Village. Generations of fishermen set up houses, live and pass down the traditional floating lifestyle to their children.
Cua Van Floating Fishing Village attracts tourist, not only because the beautiful natural scenery is outstanding, but also local residents are aware of keeping their living environment green and clean. At Cua Van, all floating houses are very tidy, people take turns to collect trash and garbage on the sea every day. They save fresh water, reduce the amount of waste in the marine environment. Journeyetc.com highly appreciates the preserving consciousness of the people. Cua Van is well worth a visit when traveling to Halong Bay.
Things to do in Cua Van Floating Fishing Village
Coming to Cua Van Floating Fishing Village, visitors not only have a chance to see the natural scenery, learn about the cultural life of the fishermen, but visitors can also sail around the village and take part in many interesting activities in local daily life.
Under the instructions of local villagers, visitors can spread the catching net, fish squids, and enjoy the seafood that they have caught. Especially on festive occasions or wedding ceremonies, visitors can have an unforgettable experience to enjoy endemic folk songs of local fishermen such as traditional love songs, ferry songs (imitating rowing rhythms).
Moreover, your journey will be filled with exciting adventurous activities. It is an interesting option for tourist to explore Tien Ong Cave nearby. Ba Ham Lake is also an attractive destination for activities such as caving, kayaking, and swimming. Almost visitor will have a good time to row bamboo boats to discover around the village, chat with locals, fish squids and enjoy the marine beautiful tranquil scenery. Cua Van Fishing Village becomes one of the most charming destinations that you want to visit in your lifetime trip to Halong Bay.
Viet Hai Village
Viet Hai Village is a small village, located in the core of Cat Ba National Park in Cat Hai Island district, Hai Phong. Due to its remote location, there are not many indigenous peoples living there. However, Viet Hai Village has recently become an attractive destination for domestic and foreign tourists, especially for trekkers and bikers.
How to get to Viet Hai Village Cat Ba
Travellers first have to arrive at Beo Port in Cat Ba Island, from there, you take the ferry or boat to Viet Hai Port. Viet Hai Village is about 5 km from the port, you can walk, rent bicycles, take trams to get to the village. Trams can carry up to 12 passengers per trip and the monolithic road to the village has been concretised for easier transportation.
Local life in harmony with nature
Viet Hai Village has over 70 roofs. Most of which are traditionally made from bamboos, clay, and straw. To build an old-style house, they first mix mud and straw into a dense mixture, then cover the mixture over bamboo sticks, leave the mixture to condense to make hard walls. The roof is covered with thick layers of grass. This mud-walled cottage is a typical image of Vietnamese Northern countryside, that only a few ancient villages still retain this unique type of house.
The tranquil and peaceful life in Viet Hai contrasts with the bustling noisy of other tourist attractions. It is good to have some quiet moments, just to relax and get away in a remote area lying in the middle of deep valleys, geographically divided by the ocean that only a few people have ever set foot on.
Community-based tourism in Viet Hai Village
Viet Hai Village has been developing as a community-based ecotourism destination that attracts many travellers. Especially foreign tourists who want to experience and explore rustic village life and wide nature. Community-based tourism is a focus to support the livelihoods of local people, helps them to earn more income, integrates them into the outside world. Despite the lack of conditions, Viet Hai also has many advantages in terms of natural landscape and distinctive cultural characteristics to attract tourists.
Activities in Viet Hai Village for Travellers
Viet Hai villagers are very sensitive when providing services. They send people to tourist centers such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City to learn about community-based tourism and how to apply to their condition. Besides their work on the field, they also work as local tour guides, hosts, and drivers for tourists. Local people supply and directly serve every need of visitors. Some families operate homestay services and set up small eateries providing local specialties. In Viet Hai Village, travellers can admire the simple rustic beauty when walking through the green rice fields, cycling along winding countryside roads, breathing fresh air and feeling the serenity in every corner of this peaceful village. It is such a memorable experience to enjoy the scenery of mountains, forests, and ocean, all in one place.
Years recently, Viet Hai Village has welcomed thousands of visitors to visit and experience the life and activities of villagers. With the extensive participation of locals in organising activities and supplying services, tourism in Viet Hai becomes a unique, attractive and sustainable tourism product.
Lan Ha Bay is located in the southeast of Cat Ba Town, adjacent to Halong Bay. This is a peaceful gulf-shaped bay with about 400 islets and islands in various sizes creating a magnificent picture depicting the fairylike seascape. All the big and small islands in Lan Ha Bay are covered with green trees and rich organism, which triggers the curious mind of worldwide travelers.
About Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay possesses a high density of limestone mountains which are primitive, peaceful and precious in biological value. There are a lot of pristine mountains with many shapes depending on visitors’ imagination such as Wooden Shoe Islet, Bat Islet… Lan Ha Bay is also the cradle of gulfs and caves, which have not been discovered yet. Besides, travelers are stunned by stalactite grottoes with distinguishing features such as Ham Rong Cave, Do Cung Cave, Ca Cave…
Compared to Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is more charmingly romantic with 139 golden-sand beaches, lovely and desolate beaches inviting visitors to explore. Many sandy beaches stretch between rocky mountains offering quietness with no big waves, which are really the ideal places for swimmers. And under the turquoise water in Van Boi Beach, Van Ha Beach, Sen Island, Monkey Island, travelers can also get snorkel and dive to appreciate the colorful coral reefs and many aquatic creatures.
Da Chong Islet
Ho Ba Ham Islet
Ho Ba Ham Islet lies on Dau Be Island in the southernmost part of Halong Bay, 25 km away from the tourist port. Ho Ba Ham Islet is in the middle of a narrow rectangular sea, surrounded by high upright limestone mountains. Under the foot of the mountains, there are three water caves. To go from one cave to another, visitors have to sail through tunnels with low domes. From the ceilings, many stalactites hang down creating beautiful natural scenery.
About Ho Ba Ham Islet
Natural characteristics of Ho Ba Ham Islet
Ho Ba Ham Islet consists of three large lakes interconnected by a narrow winding tunnel. This tunnel is actually the upper part of a water cave, a typical form of limestone karst that was eroded by water, waves, and tides. Each cluster of colorful stalactites drops from the tunnel ceiling with strange shapes. On the islet, lots of evergreen plants like orchids, banyan trees, palms are growing to create a favorable living environment for endemic animal species of Halong Bay such as golden monkeys, flying squirrels, bats, rare birds. Under the blue water of three lakes, there is the vibrant life of many marine species.
From the entrance, visitors will go through a tunnel into the first lake. Inside the tunnel, stalactites in multi colors look like a bunch of fibrous roots. Going about 100 meters further, there is a light beam from the ceiling of the tunnel, where you will see many kinds of orchids clinging to the cliffs, clusters of evergreen trees in rocky mountains. Then, the second lake opens and has an ancient star fruit tree growing on the southeast cliff that gives fruit all year round. Passing through a cavern for about 5 minutes from there, you will reach the third lake. This is a peaceful home to many kinds of rare birds and butterflies.
The ecological diversity of Ho Ba Ham Islet
Ho Ba Ham Islet still retain the wild and mysterious nature without the impact of human. With ideal ecological conditions, Ba Ham Lake is a habitat of typical ecosystem. There are many endemic plant species of tropical forests growing on the cliffs such as azaleas, ferns, and palm trees. Squirrels, monkeys, birds also choose this place as their home and often go out to eat, so visitors can watch the animals like in a natural zoo. The water of three lakes is crystal clear to see the fish swimming around and special aquatic systems at the bottom.
Things to do in Ho Ba Ham Islet
With many great advantages, Ho Ba Ham Islet is gradually becoming one of the most attractive destinations in Halong Bay. To explore the beauty of Ho Ba Ham Islet, visitors can row bamboo boats or kayaks to go further into the lakes. It is also an ideal place for swimmers and snorkelers. Most of cruising itineraries are considered Ho Ba Ham Islet as a highlight of the trip. You should choose the overnight cruise to have a good amount of time to visit this interesting destination. It is advisable to rent a kayak to truly enjoy a moment of your own and admire the charming beauty of Ho Ba Ham Islet.
Cat ba Island
Cat Ba Island is located only 30km from Hai Phong city center and 25km from Ha Long City. From Hai Phong, it is very convenient for tourists to take a ferry or speedboat to visit Cat Ba. Or you can enjoy cruising from harbors in Quang Ninh to have an exciting journey through the Natural Wonder Halong Bay to reach Cat Ba Island.
About Cat Ba Island
Best time to travel to Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island has a favorable weather condition, so visitors can travel Cat Ba all year round. In any season at any time, Cat Ba has its unique charm. While domestic tourists often go there in the summer, international tourists mainly visit Cat Ba Island from November to March.
High season in Cat Ba is the summer time from May to August, therefore, if you can arrange, you should go before or after the high season, or you should go in the weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Cat Ba’s natural charm
You will feel like to enter a new world when setting foot on Cat Ba Island. It is very comfortable and refreshing to travel on the road through the dense green forest to reach the island heart. The mountain passes are quite challenging for the adventurous tourists. Admiring the spectacular sceneries on the road, you will understand why biking tour across the island is the first choice of foreign guests.
How to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi
- BUS from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island
The fastest and cheap way how to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island by bus. Bus is going over the longest sea-crossing bridge in Southeast Asia – Tan Vu – Lach Huyen (opened in September 2017) and is going directly to the Cat Ba town on the island over the Cat Hai Island. A short boat transfer of bus (10 minutes) from the Got Port (Bến phà Gót) to the Cái Viềng port.
Bus is going over the longest sea-crossing bridge in Southeast Asia – Tan Vu – Lach Huyen (opened in September 2017)
- TRAIN + SPEEDBOAT from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island
First let’s cover the details for taking a train and then a speedboat from Hanoi to Cat Ba via Hai Phong. Hanoi Railway Station is pretty central and only around a 20 minute walk from the centre of the old quarter.
From here you will take a train into Ga Hải Phòng Railway Station. This part of this route option from Hanoi to Cat Ba will take around 2 hours 45 minutes.
- Speedboat from Hai Phong (Pha Binh port) to Cat Ba Island
- BUS + SPEEDBOAT from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island
Bus from Hanoi to Hai Phong
This last option for getting from Hanoi to Cat Ba involves first taking a bus from Hanoi to Hai Phong and the speedboat option from Hai Phong to Cat Ba as detailed above in option 2.
- FLIGHT from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island (Seaplane)
Swimming in Cat Ba Beaches
Things to do in Cat Ba Island
In Cat Ba, there are 3 most popular tourist beaches: Cat Co 1, 2 and 3, with clear water and near the town center. In particular, Cat Co 1 beach is larger and more favorable, with three sides surrounded by rocky mountains. Cat Co 2 and 3 are smaller but quite peaceful. The beaches are connected by a small path along the mountain.
If you want to have a panoramic view of Cat Ba, you should hike the crest of 177m high Gun Fortress. It is not only a historical relic, which marked the brilliant achievements of the local people; this place also has an ideal location with 3 sides facing the ocean. What a spectacular location to just sit there while sipping coffee and watching the romantic sunset.
The best water sport to try in Cat Ba is to go kayaking. You are sure to be overwhelmed by the majestic landscape and seascape here.
Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park is one of the unique biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO. This is a real paradise for those who love to explore nature and challenge themselves. The typical route is only about 1.8 km, while the longest crossing mountain to Viet Hai fishing village is about 16 km. You can see countless species of endemic species, luckily you can see the Cat Ba langur – the symbol of the island.
Halong Bay is one of seven wonder in the world, with area is 1553 km2. Halong Bay consists of 1969 island and islet, most of which are limestones. specific feature of Ha Long Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands. It was declared twice time by UNESCO in 1994 and 2011. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.
The greatest Vietnamese ship called Binh Chuan designed entirely and totally by Vietnam people was first built and sailed from Hai Phong to Sai Gon. The ship made a voyage of national pride, culture and ambition of Vietnamese who dreamt of revitalizing the national commerce and economy. It was a voyage of aspiration to contribute to build a stronger nation of Vietnam.
Today, the Heritage Cruises represents that historical vessel while guiding travelers around the pristine and magnificent Lan Ha Bay and re-creating the Binh Chuan story. Board our Heritage Cruises, and be prepared to relive that glorious historical moment!
rom a childhood dream…
As a teenager, Pham Ha, the co-founder of Heritage Cruises, cruised from Haiphong City to Ho Chi Minh City
just a few years after the unification of South and North Vietnam.Even then he had plans to build his own cruise ships, to have his own fleet, so he could share his passion for his country.
He fell in love at first sight with Halong Bay in 1995 and came to know every single island, sometimes spending a week camping on the isolated beaches and exploring remote islands by kayak.
In 1997, he took a film crew there for 2 months to make the ‘Vertical Ray of the Sun’ – a film by the famous director, Tran Anh Hung, which was filmed in Cua Van Floating Village, near Three Peach Beaches, on the frontier between Halong Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago.
His personal mission is to deliver happiness. He is passionate about quality cruising, heritage, culture and history.
Pham Ha is recognized internationally in the tourism business and knows the market well. As a result, he initially built a fleet of cruise ships in Nha Trang Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.
The building of a new fleet in the Cat Ba Archipelago, the Red River and in the future for longer trips from north to south Vietnam is a continuation of his childhood dream.
o the first Vietnamese boutique cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin
Heritage Cruises derives inspiration for its boutique concept and design from the heritage ships of the inspirational patriotic entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi, who transformed transportation on the waterways in Tonkin in North Vietnam in the early 20th century.
Inspiration from the King of Vietnamese Cruise: Bach Thai Buoi
The Vietnamese used to say the phrase: “First Si, Second Phuong, Third Xuong and Fourth Buoi” to refer to the top 4 wealthy and successful Vietnamese men. “Fourth Buoi” is no one but the businessman and entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi.
At the age of 20, Bach Thai Buoi found his interest in doing business. In 1908 – 1909, he decided to take his first steps into the waterway transport industry which was exclusively and mostly owned by the Chinese at that moment.
Regardless of the high competitiveness against French and Chinese waterway companies, he established Bach Thai Buoi Maritime Company. With a tonnage of 600 tons and a 400 horsepower engine designed and built by Vietnamese, Binh Chuan ship was the peak of Bach Thai Buoi’s waterway transport career.
That Vietnamese-made ship set sail from Haiphong City to Sai Gon in 1920, receiving warm welcomes from Cochinchinese businessmen who even made a bronze board that read: “To Binh Chuan ship – the first Vietnamese ship in Saigon Port.
At that moment, the Binh Chuan ship carried more than just hundred tons of goods – it also took with it the national pride of each and every Vietnamese on the way. That voyage from Haiphong to Saigon was a loud and clear statement of the nation’s strong and rapid development.
A symbol of Vietnamese national spirit and patriotism
Bach Thai Buoi gave up a peaceful life to embark on a business career not only because of wealth. It was his desire to affirm the position of Vietnamese in the market, proving that we are not inferior to any other nation.
Bach Thai Buoi was a role model of expressing national pride in his work. He hired mostly Vietnamese workers. He named his ships after Vietnamese nobles or historical milestones such as Dinh Tien Hoang, Bach Dang… Maybe this explained why he was so successful at that time – thanks to his sincere and moving patriotism.
For any Vietnamese, the national spirit and patriotism are always highly-regarded. As we suffered too much in the past, it is our instinct to love, respect and protect the country.
Heritage Cruises understand this – and we create a unique experience for all the tourists by representing not only the Binh Chuan cruise itself but also the spirit of it.
eritage Cruises: A voyage of culture and history
What makes Heritage Cruises stands out from the rest of vessels in Vietnam in general and in Lan Ha Bay in particular is the cultural and historical story embedded within each and every small detail of the ship.
100 years after Binh Chuan Cruise first built and set sail, travellers can now witness and experience the glory of that North – South ship while boarding the Heritage Cruises. The cruise has an antique beauty of the past while bringing luxury and modern services for travellers.
All is embedded in the atmosphere of Vietnamese culture, art and culinary on the made-in-Vietnam Heritage Cruise.
The sophisticated and antique style of Indochina
Inspired by the ship of Bach Thai Buoi, Heritage Cruises was the first cruise ever in Vietnam with an architectural style of Indochina in the 1930s. With its distinctive style, the cruise revives the past and honors Vietnam’s historical, cultural, artistic and culinary heritages in the 20th century.
Heritage Cruise is 75m long and 13m10 wide. It consists of 4 separate floors but only 20 spacious suites for 40 guests. There are 2 restaurants, 3 bars, 2 spa rooms, a four-season rooftop swimming pool, a bookstore and a mini gym – all up to standard of a 5-star resort and hotel.
Besides the luxurious amenities, Heritage Cruises also offers a pure Vietnamese cultural space and the atmosphere of culture, history, art and cuisine in the 20th century through a Bach Thai Buoi library and artful lobby lounge with nearly 100 paintings by “The Vietnamese Picasso” Pham Luc.
Even the names of the cruise, common spaces and rooms are customized to showcase the history and culture of Vietnam in the 1930s. Even the Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan was named after the Binh Chuan ship built in the 20th century, expressing the founder’s dream of writing the Bach Thai Buoi’s dream.
On the cruise, the art exhibition was named L’Art de l’Annam – a book of the same name, published in 1933 by Henri Gourdon, who was the director of the first Indochinese University – Université Indochinoise, who offered a view of the art of Annam from the perspective of a westerner.
Similarly, names were carefully chosen for the restaurants, bars, lounges and spa to maintain the overall spirit of the national pride and cultural stories: Bach Dang Wine Cellar, Le Tonkin, L’Indochine, Song Hong Lounge, and White Lotus Spa.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci’s quote captures Heritage Cruises’ vision and philosophy perfectly: the key principle behind every project is a devotion to simplicity, heritage, boutique and product authenticity.
An exploration of the pristine Lan Ha Bay
Cruising is all about destinations, experiences and memories.
Situated in the south of Ha Long Bay and the east of Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay has an area of over 7,000 hectares with stunning beauty of around 400 large and small islands with many interesting shapes. Different from Halong Bay, all islands in Lan Ha Bay are covered with greenery – even the smallest islets.
Lan Ha Bay is the home of lots of mountains with different names depending on the imagination of tourists such as Hon Quoc Islet (Wooden Shoe islet) and Dao Khi – Monkey Island. Lan Ha Bay possesses about 139 beautiful sandy beaches and spreads over 7,000 ha including that the area of 5,400 ha is under-managed by The Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO – Cat Ba National Park.
In 2020, Lan Ha Bay officially becomes a member of the World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club.
While Halong Bay is often touristy and crowded, Lan Ha Bay has its own beauty of tranquility and pristinity. Besides, Cat Ba Archipelago is an exotic destination with pristine beaches, secluded lagoons, coves, tropical forest and lakes. Thanks to its isolation to the mainland, this charming destination preserves its unspoiled natural scenery to its best. The density of limestone islets in Lan Ha Bay is quite thick, creating smaller bays.
Although not too popular among tourists, Lan Ha Bay is considered as one of the most beautiful bays in Vietnam. Fall is the most beautiful time of the year in lan Ha Bay with light sunshine, cool weather and gentle breezes from the ocean.
All 139 beaches lying scattered throughout Lan Ha Bay allow tourists to contemplate from the cruises. The trio of Cat Co 1,2 and 3 Beach, Van Boi Beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach (Three Peaches Beach) and Tung Thu Beach are known as one of the most appealing beaches in Lan Ha Bay.
Ba Trai Dao Beach has attracted tourists by not only its charming beauty but an interesting myth to explain the appearance of the three rocks that give the islet its name as well. Tung Thu is another attractive one offering on the south coast of Cat Ba Island, while Van Boi offers the chance to engage in scuba-diving to watch the colorful coral reefs underwater.
Light and Dark Caves which are the two opposing ones, as their names, show the difference in the amount of light entering from outside. The Dark Cave is longer, so it’s necessary to require torches for discovering. Meanwhile, the Light Cave has a short corridor opening up into an amazing lake covered by stretching limestone cliffs.
Hospital Cave is the most interesting cave in terms of historical value since its large grottos made it an ideal place for taking care of and hiding the injured Viet Cong soldiers during the war against the American. Moreover, it’s hard to find the Hospital Cave from the ground and the air, making it perfect to rest up the troops and form attacking plans.
Viet Hai Fishing Village , which is an ecological attraction, appeals to tourists by tranquil and peaceful landscapes as well as hidden charm villages of local people and their lifestyles.
Even the voyage around Lan Ha Bay is filled with cultural stories which go well with the spirit of the Heritage Cruise.
et’s begin the voyage!
Almost a century after Bach Thai Buoi first built the Binh Chuan vessel, Heritage Cruise has now inherited the historical and cultural
stories in its design, spirit and voyage. This opens your chance to embark on a voyage through time on a Heritage Cruises ship – a vessel inspired by heritage designs and with impeccable service fit for the bourgeoisie from the 1930s.
Heritage Cruises is pure, artful and elegant in offering special perspectives on the Red River and the Gulf of Tonkin. The welcome is personal, the accommodation is sumptuous, and the views are simply gorgeous.
And yet it is the total experience − the unique impression derived from the cruise’s combination of quality, quintessence and ambiance in a spectacular location − that makes the cruising experience on Heritage Cruises unforgettable.
Heritage Cruise is not only a cabin or a suite. It is the overall experience, stories and dreams that we want to share.
(Vietnam Today) – Nowaday, luxury yatchs have become a new tourist trend in Vietnam. Lux Cruises luxury cruise line provides customers with top-quality services and constant improvement in experiences for travelers, especially international travelers.
Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises are 5-star yachts and aim to provide the best experience for customers. However, the two brands also have a lot of differences in design ideas, product lines, and target customers.
The Heritage Binh Chuan Cruise, inspired by Vietnam’s King of Cruise Ships, Bach Thai Buoi (1874 – 1922), is the first yacht designed in a boutique concept style, suitable for many groups of guests, from young people, families, and elderly customers who like to participate in activities on board. Operating in Lan Ha bay, Heritage Binh Chuan Cruise is one of the first cruises to have the largest swimming pool in the North Bay with an exhibition space for paintings by the famous painter, Pham Luc, and plenty of space for visitors to visit and experience. With 20 spacious suites all provided with private balconies, panoramic windows overlooking the bay and bathrooms all with standing and lying bathtubs, visitors will truly feel comfortable and relaxed.
Meanwhile, The Emperor Cruises Legacy Halong was inspired by the Bao Dai emperor (1913 – 1997) and was completely designed in the royal style of the 1930s. It is the first cruise to operate in Ha Long bay and Bai Tu Long bay, offering package service, including free drinks, unlimited massage service, and 24/24 butler service. Although Emperor Cruises Legacy Halong has only 10 cabins, all rooms are suites with huge areas, amenities with private balconies or panoramic windows, and a Jacuzzi or bathtub. Customers can experience total relaxation sitting by the Sunset Bar and sunbathing on the deck while enjoying cocktails, listening to ocean rhythms and watching the sunset. Emperor Cruises also offers comprehensive wellness products to help travelers have the most fulfilling experiences on their journey.
If you choose to stay at the Nha Trang Emperor Cruises, you can immerse yourself in Trinh music nights while moon-watching in the bay and enjoying high-quality cuisine. You can also choose to rest on the beach in Nha Trang bay or participate in scuba diving tours at Mun island, have afternoon tea and explore the art of enjoying Vietnamese tea.
Lux Cruises also makes an effort to improve each guest meal experience by interacting with wine consultants and hosting a cocktail party to welcome the sunset on the pool bar and swimming pool. Award-winning chefs will create new seasonal dishes and enhance the food experience with new styles, especially the breezy dinner in the middle of the bay with music that will surely give every customer unforgettable memories.
Coming aboard on Lux Cruise yachts, customers can participate in scuba diving, sail to get to the beach area, and learn about the stories of Vietnam’s first luxury cruise brand.
Travel Sustainable badge for Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago, Booking.com lists seven sustainable properties in Vietnam worth visiting for your next trip
With the gradual return of traveling comes a shift in behavior among travelers from around the world. According to Booking.com’s 2022 Sustainable Travel Report*, an encouraging 87% of Vietnamese travelers say they have stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year, and they are encouraged to do so again soon.
Nearly half (42%) of Vietnamese travelers mentioned that they prefer to stay in a sustainable accommodation as it helps reduce their impact on the environment, and more than a third (34%) believe sustainable properties treat the community better.
Encouraging travelers to practice sustainability as they go back to travel, Booking.com lists some of the top properties awarded with a Travel Sustainable Badge, recognizing the sustainable practices of these accommodations. Explore these unique accommodations and experience the beauty of staying in a property that practices sustainability which benefits the local communities, and the environment!
Topas Ecolodge – Sapa
Topas Ecolodge is a boutique resort situated atop a beautiful hillside deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, Sapa, Northern Vietnam. Nominated as one of the best places to stay if you care about the Earth by National Geographic, Topas Ecolodge provides the perfect setting to indulge in guilt-free modern convenience all while protecting the surrounding environment and local cultures.
The sustainable property offers 41 rustic mountain bungalows designed out of local white granite in a minimalistic chalet-style, providing all comforts while giving way for the magnificent and raw natural beauty of Vietnam to take the center stage.
From its first day of operations, Topas Ecolodge has been working with DANIDA (Denmark’s development cooperation, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to become a showcase of sustainable tourism in remote areas. Apart from built-in facilities and their different sustainable practices, Topas Ecolodge also supports the community by spreading awareness and educational support to their staff as well as local residents.
Heritage Cruises Cat Ba Archipelago
With over two decades of expertise in the cruise and luxury tourism industry, Heritage Cruises Cat Ba Archipelago is the first heritage and boutique cruise company to operate sustainably in both Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang of Vietnam. Each cruise ship is a one-of-a-kind vessel which brings on the inspirational art, tradition and culture of the local region.
The vessel is built using sustainable material and designed in a way that would maximize natural light and airflow to reduce the need for air conditioning. Apart from that, there is no plastic used on the cruise and the cruise’s staff frequently clean up the trekking trails, island and beach areas to ensure the pristine beaches and coves in their operating areas.
Banyan Tree Lang Co – Hue
Located in Central Vietnam, Banyan Tree Lăng Cô is a multi-awarded property that offers an escape to a paradise of luxurious all-pool villas nestled between the azure waters of the East Sea and the Truong Son mountain range.
The resort provides tourists with a luxurious hideaway, while being close to destinations that promise cultural and historical exploration such as the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hoi An Ancient Town, the Imperial Citadel of Hue and My Son Sanctuary.
Sustainability and social responsibility have always been at the heart of the Banyan Tree brand. Apart from vernacular architectural styles and locally-sourced materials, the property employs an efficient energy and waste management system and maintains a supply chain of partners who share matching values.
Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai – Hoi An
With an idyllic location on Vietnam’s culturally rich central coast, the Nam Hai offers a portal to three extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites and a breezy respite on the country’s most celebrated beach. You’ll have a chance to reconnect with your loved ones through various activities – whether you take to the East Sea by kayak, explore the glory of imperial Hue or simply savor quiet moments in your own tranquil villa.
Since it was founded in 1960, the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts embraces the Golden Rule – a simple idea that the company should treat others the way it would want to be treated. Today, this vision is deeply embedded in the company’s culture and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programs that proactively seek to preserve and regenerate the beautiful places in which the company operates.
Deeming sustainability as a serious commitment and business strategy, the Four Seasons Resorts has been a member of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) since 2012, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Sustainability Committee – the largest hotel association in the US, and the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF), an invitation-only membership group for large companies.
Six Senses Con Dao – Con Dao Island
Six Senses is among the first luxurious and sustainable villas and resorts in Vietnam and has since then played an active and daily role in improving the ecological impact and carbon footprint of the resort and spa.
Offering an exclusive island hideaway resort amidst a pristine marine and national park, Six Senses Con Dao consists of 50 sea-view villas built from wood and eco-friendly materials with large windows for catching natural light, equipped with solar energy system to save electricity.
To protect the green turtle on the island, Six Senses Con Dao has been launching an ambitious project in cooperation with Con Dao National Park authority to help optimize egg laying for green turtles and decrease the mortality rate of turtle hatching. The project includes a safe incubation to protect the turtle’s eggs from threats. If you are lucky enough, you can get to watch mama turtles laying eggs right on the resort premises.
The sustainable efforts of Six Senses Con Dao were recognized by the National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s top eco-friendly resorts. In September 2022, the resort was voted the No.1 resort hotel in Southeast Asia by Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.
Komorebi An Son – Da Lat
Da Lat is known as the land of dreamy and romantic souls because of its atmosphere and green natural scenery. The city also attracts visitors for its beautifully decorated cafes and homestays hidden in the hills throughout the city, where there’s a place for anyone to watch nature and slowly enjoy the beauty of life, a luxury that is hard to find in metropolitan areas.
Sustainable tourism, therefore, is a way to preserve and keep the inherent beauty of Da Lat intact for ourselves and future trips. Komorebi An Son, a sustainable property recognized by Booking.com, offers a diverse selection of rooms for the dreamers. Equipped with a shared kitchen that is full of appliances for cooking enthusiasts, one can enjoy relaxing in the garden of this hill villa, or visit nearby attractions such as Truc Lam Pagoda, Yersin Park, Palace 3.
Sala Grand TuyHoa – Phu Yen
Phu Yen is a central coastal province in the South Central Coast region, where the untouched beach and poetic natural scenery can immediately steal one’s mind away.
Located in Tuy Hoa, a few steps from Tuy Hoa Beach, Sala Grand TuyHoa Hotel – a Sustainable Property recognized by Booking.com – provides accommodation with a restaurant, free bikes and an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is equipped with water-efficient toilets and showers, provides the option to opt out daily room cleaning or towels changing, and prioritize locally sourced food supply.
One spectacular attraction among many that Phu Yen offers is Ghenh Da Dia. The attraction has a unique and one-of-a-kind structure. From a distant look, one can see the basalt rock folds up like a giant honeycomb, creating a mysterious and strange beauty that is like nowhere else on earth.
Planning for one’s sustainable trip has been made easier with Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable badge – a credible, globally relevant sustainability measure that will provide highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. The Travel Sustainable badge and an overview of individual property sustainability efforts are visible to travellers on property pages across the Booking.com app and website globally.
In autumn of 1010, Emperor Ly Thai To decided to move the capital of the kingdom to Dai La (Hanoi today) from Hoa Lu (present Ninh Binh). He was mindful that the place was an ideal location with many advantages for wet rice farming and traffic thanks to a number of waterways, especially the Red River, the backyard of Ba Vi mountain, promising the long-term prosperous development of a capital and a nation. After moving the capital and renaming it Thang Long, Ly Cong Uan ordered the construction of a citadel to protect the city. Since then, Thang Long has become the political, economic, and cultural center of the country.
When the Nguyen dynasty was established in 1802, Emperor Gia Long moved the capital to Hue. Thang Long was no longer the capital, its Chinese characters was changed from 昇龍 (“Rising dragon”) to 昇隆 (“Ascent and prosperity”), aiming to reduce the sentiment of Le Dynasty. Emperors of Vietnam usually used dragon (龍 long) as a symbol of their imperial strength, and power. In 1831, the Nguyen emperor Minh Mang renamed it Hanoi (河內, “Between Rivers” or “River Interior”). Hanoi was occupied by the French in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. As Hanoi, it was located in the protectorate of Tonkin and became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.
The city was occupied by the Imperial Japanese in 1940 and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam. However, the French returned and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954. The French Army withdrew that year and the People’s Army of Vietnam and International Control Commission occupied the city under the terms of the 1954 Geneva Conference. Following the end of the Vietnam and US war, Hanoi became the capital of a reunified Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on 2 July 1976.
Today, Hanoi is still a city of rivers, of which the Red River is the largest. For Hanoians, the Red River is not only a source of life, it is also a reflection of Vietnamese history and the capital city’s long prosperity. Heritage buildings such as churches, grand cathedrals, opera houses, clocks, colonial buildings, villas, museums, palaces, river ports, and iron bridges remain unchanged though some have disappeared. Many boulevards with French names have changed to Vietnamese names. Regrettably, the heritage street Bach Thai Buoi was changed to Nguyen Huu Huan alley in 1954 on the bank of Red River, but his former two-story office houses in Hang Muoi Street remain intact facing the clock with his former inland waterway port near Chuong Duong Bridge.
High-rise buildings are rare in this city which is striving to retain its character. Grand colonial buildings, tranquil lakes, and a maze of narrow streets provide intriguing contrasts. Hanoi is an elegant city with tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake (Grand Lac on postcards) at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling 36 guild streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Hanoi is truly a city of contrasts with areas of wide boulevards and large colonial buildings, reflecting its period as a French Protectorate, and other areas truly Vietnamese with a muddle of narrow streets which bustle from dawn to dusk.
Similarly to the guilded age of Europe, “Hanoi’s 36 districts” is Vietnam’s version of the guild concept. In the past, as artisans moved to the capital city to do business, they gathered together in this area to share the resources and built communal houses and their temples. As a result, many of the streets were named after the crafts sold at that individual street. Pho Hang Muoi (Rue du Sel or Salt Street), Pho Hang Bun (Vermicelli), Pho Hang Ma (Paper Product), Pho Hang Bac (Silver), Pho Hang Non (palm-leaf conical hat), … are examples of the streets carrying the name of the products sold there. Explore my rich collection of postcards about Hanoi’s old guild streets and iconic buildings of the capital of Indochina and now the heart of Vietnam.
Global business travel industry spending was expected to hit USD 1.7 trillion by 2022, and despite the crisis, business travel is bouncing back fast. It means many businesses are now looking for a TMC: Travel Management Company so that they’re as prepared as can be for when business travel returns to 100%.
A travel management company is essentially a travel agent or travel agency for corporate travel needs. As technology evolves, we’re beginning to see more personalized TMC solutions providing so much more than the ability to only book travel. Business travel programs need TMCs that are more tech-savvy than ever before.
The Definition of a Travel Management Company (TMC)
A Travel Management Company (TMC) is a travel agent that fully manages the business travel requirements delegated by an individual, company or organisation to fundamentally save clients both time and money.
A TMC is also commonly known as a business travel agency or corporate travel provider.
As opposed to the traditional travel agent, which will usually deal with occasional leisure travel needs, a travel management company provides on-going services with the aim of providing cost savings, keeping control of a travel policy and allowing the client to spend less time on time-consuming travel arrangements.
A travel management company will typically use a GDS (Global Distribution System like Sabre or Amadeus) displaying real time availability to book flights, hotels and cars as well as other trusted software systems like Evolvi for train bookings.
Services Provided by a Travel Management Company
As well as simply making flight or hotel reservations, the TMC will offer many other ancillary services such as aircraft charter, airport lounges, parking and transfers, hotel bed requests, car hire, chauffeurs, foreign exchange, group travel, hotel bill backs, insurance, leisure travel, marine travel, meal requests, meet and greets, passport and visa procurement, rail tickets, roadshow services and venue sourcing.
Company and individual profiles are safely stored ensuring all personal travel requests are adhered to within an overall travel policy with every booking.
Other management services will often include MIS reporting, account management, risk management, cost/expense management, traveller tracking/security and travel policy adherence. Many TMCs will now also provide online self-booking tools whereby organisations can make their own flight and hotel reservations and bookings. Travel management companies will also typically negotiate with vendors/suppliers to provide discounted fares and loyalty programs.
The Future of the Global Travel Industry
What’s the future of the global travel industry? As economic prosperity rises throughout the world, the travel industry will be flooded by people from all over the world, and businesses are going to be at the forefront of this growth pushing their services to meet demand.
Expect the top 20 travel companies in the world to continues pushing the industry to new heights. The main thing to keep in mind going forward as more people travel from all over the world is that the future will be about more travelers and easier to reach places.
Rank Company Sales (USD billions) Headquarters No. of employees
1 Expedia Group $99 billion Bellevue, Washington, USA 24,000
2 Booking Holdings $92.7 billion Norwalk, Connecticut, USA 24,500
3 American Express Global Business Travel $33.7 billion Jersey City, New Jersey, USA 17,400
4 BCD Travel $27.1 billion Utrecht, Netherlands 13,800
5 CWT $25 billion Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 18,000
6 Flight Centre $16 billion Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 20,600
7 Travel Leaders Group $7.12 billion New York City, New York, USA 4,000
8 American Express Travel $6.27 billion New York City, New York, USA 5,000
9 Direct Travel $5.4 billion Centennial, Colorado, USA 2,000
10 Corporate Travel Management $5 billion Denver, Colorado, USA 725
11 Fareportal $4.32 billion New York City, New York, USA 3,700
12 American Automobile Association $3.94 billion Heathrow, Florida, USA 4,401
13 Travel and Transport $3.2 billion New York City, New York, USA 1,610
14 Frosch $2.05 billion New York City, New York, USA 1,125
15 Omega World Travel $1.41 billion Fairfax, Virginia, USA 540
16 JTB Americas Group $1.37 billion Torrance, California, USA 2,234
17 World Travel $1.26 billion Exton, Pennsylvania, USA 523
18 World Travel Holdings $1.2 billion Wilmington, Massachusetts, USA 1,239
19 Ovation Travel Group $1.16 billion New York City, New York, USA 585
20 ATG $857 million New Albany, Ohio, USA
Luxury Travel in Vietnam on the Rise and Affordable
Vietnam is emerging as a luxury destination in the world tourism map, Mr. Pham Ha, a travel guru in the tourism industry in Vietnam reveals the current luxury travel trends and his products for 2022. Ha is the founder and CEO of Lux Group which is group of small giants including Lux Limo, Lux Mice, Lux Hotels and Resorts, Adventura Travel, Secret Hideaways, Lux Travel Dmc, Luxury Travel, Emperor and Heritage Cruises.
The Travel Experts of Virtuoso in the U.S. just completed a trend survey of its member agencies, each of whom specializes in catering to the needs of luxury travelers. The survey indicates that Vietnam and Cambodia are the hottest destinations in Southeast Asia.
“With new luxury hotels and world class golf courses having recently opened or set to open soon, and the introduction of luxury train journeys, exclusive cruises and upscale private tours spanning the length of the country, Vietnam is fast emerging as an exciting destination for the high-end traveler.” said Pham Ha.
Today’s luxury travelers want to be entertained and stimulated, rather than simply pampered, and Vietnam offers a magical mix of tropical beaches, post-colonial charm, a string of world heritage sites, stunning inland scenery, world-renowned cuisine and a home-grown flair for hospitality.
“Today, luxury travel is about experiences and doesn’t need to be limited to the super rich. Indeed, it is a little-known fact that almost anybody can afford to travel in style, elegance and comfort without breaking the bank or even spending much more than traveling ordinarily. The world of luxury travel is actually a very accessible one.” reveals Pham Ha.
Upscale tours today also offer “off the beaten track” experiences. In a credit crunch environment, high end tourists also expect efficiency, seamless travel, value for the money and a return on personal values. Many will opt for short trips for their families which offer a slice of local culture, a splash of adventure, and authentic experiences.
Upscale tailor-made tours in Vietnam now come replete with yacht, cruises, helicopter tours, limousine services, and the whole nine yards.
There is also plenty of flexibility for all tours. Travelers are free to request helicopter tours, cycling excursions to craft villages, scuba diving or snorkeling trips, reservations at the finest restaurants in the land, meetings with renowned artists, chefs and designers, shopping recommendations, spa reservations, tours with special-interest lecturers, and exclusive access to local activities and cultural events.
Each day, tours are designed with flexibility to suit travelers’ personal interests, schedule and energy level. When it comes to luxury tours, the sky’s truly the limit. Lux Travel DMC (www.luxtraveldmc.com) has just won a World Travel Awards 2022 as a Vietnam’s leading luxury destination management company confirming this trend and position of Vietnam luxury tourism in the world tourism map.
In the middle of the 19th century, after an ideological change brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the need for leisure and recreational activities arose, allowing the consolidation of tourism as a developing industry.
In 1841 the first group trip in history was registered, planned, and organized by “The Father of Tourism,” Thomas Cook (1808-1892).
Time after, he would create the first travel agency, the oldest in the world, “Cook and Son.” These revolutionary ideas would have an impact on modern tourism in the not-too-distant future.
The arrival of globalization and the evolution of transportation means motivating a phenomenon known as the “Tourist Boom” (1950-1973). This exponential growth gives rise to the need to manage destinations.
The tourist can acquire different principal and complimentary services just by contacting a tourist agent. This allowed the development of other organizations or companies in charge of integrating packages to market them and provide a better service to the tourist. And this is when the figure of Tour Operator starts.
Tour Operator History
The first to emerge are travel agencies, retail companies that offer tourism products or services with or without intermediaries; they are focused on the client’s needs, conceive, create, plan, organize and execute tourism packages for small groups to a mass-market (DATATUR, 2006). Unlike other agents, their priority is to sell and manage package programs for their portfolio of clients.
With time and the expansion of mass tourism, the need to mass-produce to satisfy the destination’s demand was born. Tourist agents had to adapt by creating wholesale tourist products, setting up agencies where the experience and service have been reduced for a more accessible price.
These agents are known as tour operators, organizations that participate in tourism activities as intermediaries between the final consumer and the tourism product (WTO, 1998).
In other words, within the tourism market, they are the creators and distributors of tourism products in destinations that are generally commercial, integrating principal services (lodging, transportation, and food) and complimentary services (tours, excursions, guided visits, etc.).
Whose function is to facilitate trips that are difficult to arrange independently, creating large-scale tourism packages and circuits, marketing them to wholesalers at a single price, or distributing them directly to the client.
Benefits of contracting a Tour Operator
Provides a selection of destinations in a specific region
Facilitates travel, packages, and transportation to market trends
The convenience of acquisitions. The tourist purchases all the necessary services (lodging, transportation, food, tour activities) from a single tour operator.
In Europe in 1977, Tom Wibecker began to use the term Destination Management Company (DMC) to describe organizations that destroy the standards of traditional tour operators or wholesalers they seek to provide a quality service to the customer. In the mid-’80s, the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE) acknowledged the peculiar meaning of DMCs.
Destination Management Company (DMC) are professional tour operators and product managers. Offering the best principal and complimentary services thanks to their extensive knowledge of the destination.
A DMC company is a specialists in the planning and organizing of any event, designing itineraries and logistic programs based on the client’s needs, capable of coordinating all local suppliers.
Their vast experience allows them to provide consulting services, in addition to their excellent logistics and management. Their dedicated anticipation of the event elements is another crucial point, ensuring comfort and safety. Successful execution will bring a good reputation for the DMC, exceeding the expectations of all participants.
There are three types of DMCs based on the design and needs of the client that hires their services. That is, by the nature of the group: business (congresses, conventions, fairs, and incentive trips). Specialized (they organize pre-designed trips with a focus such as cultural, sun and beach, ecotourism, romance, among others). And the mixed (combination of the two previous ones).
Benefits of contracting a DMC
Personalized service generating an added value in the tourist’s experience.
Design of unique and creative products tailored to the customer’s needs.
They perfectly know the characteristics and conditions of the destination, can provide access to exclusive locations.
Negotiation capacity to determine the costs associated with the requested requirements.
They are skilled in planning, coordinating, organizing, and supervising events.
They provide advisory and consulting services.
High quality (hygiene, attention, reception, orientation).
Solid relationships and connections that maximize the budget.
In addition to functioning as network generating elements through the concentration of the global supply of tourism services provided by small local businesses (Jamal and Getz, 1995). They also function as network .
So, what is the difference between tour operators and DMCs?
In short, the tour operator creates products for a mass market where the main objective is sales volume with limited customer service. On the other hand, the local integrated travel agencies or DMC’s have a specialized approach by niches and provide personalized attention, and customer satisfaction is their principal objective.
Christopher H. Lee, president of ACCESS California, uses a peculiar analogy to refer to this type of organization’s work. His philosophy poses contrasts aspects of a DMC with an architect since this organization can design an event thanks to its vast knowledge and experience in the field to satisfy the requirements of the meeting, convention, congress, or incentive trip, in addition to meeting the client’s expectations by optimizing the destination’s resources and limiting itself to the infrastructure of the area.
With the digital era, tourism has evolved towards new technologies, creating new distribution channels through networks such as the Internet, modernizing its services, and offering new tourism products.
Visit our award-winning destination management compnay at