Ben Thanh Tourist says will sell tours online in 2009
Update: Jan 02, 2009
Ben Thanh Tourist will start selling tours online from after the first quarter of 2009, which will be made possible owing to a recent cooperation agreement the travel firm signed with Vietcombank and an IT solution provider.

Than Hai Thanh, general director of Ben Thanh Tourist, told the Daily that his company, Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and OnePay had inked the agreement to this effect.

The travel firm expects to sell tours and other services online via the website in 2009, he said, adding his company would spend VND 1 billion to improve the website and boost the internet connection speed.

OnePay will provide technology solution and software for the company’s online tour selling website, while Vietcombank will help with customers’ payment.

“Two main problems that prevent travel firms from selling tours online are technology and online payment. The two partners will help us resolve the problems,” he said.

The tour operator expects a good start with e-commerce after the first quarter of next year. “We expect over 10% of our customers will buy tours online in the first year since the service launch,” Thanh said, explaining that “more and more people want to buy tours and travel services online. We should improve our service to catch up with the demand.”

Ben Thanh Tourist has in the year to date supplied services to nearly 130,000 travelers. These include over 58,350 international travelers, over 6,000 outbound travelers, and nearly 65,000 people buying domestic tours. The company obtained total revenue of VND 370 billion, up 2% against 2007.

Thanh said that 2009 would be more difficult for the tourism sector.

Therefore, apart from the above e-commerce solution to give better convenience to travelers, Ben Thanh Tourist is also expected to promote budget tours. It will also launch more regional tours that take in many destinations in the ASEAN region instead of tours to long-haul destinations.

He said that for the inbound sector, the tour prices next year would be discounted by around 10% to 15%.

Apart from travel service, the State-owned company also operates hotels, resorts and restaurants in HCMC and other cities in the country. It also holds stakes in some other hotels and building projects in HCMC such as the 35-story building at 5 Me Linh Square and the 19-story building at 172-174 Ky Con in HCMC’s District 1, Tropicana in Long Hai Beach, and Park View in the ancient Hue City.