Danang rises as rival to Bali among UK tourists

UK tour operators are reporting phenomenal increases for Danang in central Vietnam, but waning interest in Bali for summer business.

Both resort destinations are best visited March to October. But while Danang is developing nicely – more hotels, direct services from Gatwick and a new Central Coast Vietnam Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) – Bali is “a commercial death wish”, said David Kevan, director of Chic Locations UK.

Said Kevan: “I am saddened by the way the island is developing, with no consideration to longevity or regard for the traditions that have brought thousands of visitors to Bali.

“Because Bali’s bed inventory is probably at least 30 times bigger than Danang, we will still send more clients to Bali, but I do see Bali gradually decreasing and Danang rapidly increasing.”

Darren Lancaster, Kuoni UK’s contracts manager, said Kuoni was seeing a “reasonable” start to bookings for Danang, which was recently added to its 2013 programme.

However, he said that the hotel deals that were being launched due to oversupply were targeted mainly at the domestic/regional markets. “(Moreover), Danang contracts are structured to appeal to short-stay clients...Therefore you do not find the strong bonus nights, long-stay offers and early-bird incentives that attract clients, particularly in off-season,” said Lancaster.

He also pointed out that Bali had a well-developed tourism infrastructure while Danang itself had little by way of friendly bars, cafes and restaurants, beyond the occasional dip to nearby Hoi An.

“As such, the threat to Bali is minimal at the moment. That said, the establishment of the DMO is a welcome move, as Danang needs a huge awareness push on the UK market,” added Lancaster.

David Carlaw, Premier Holidays UK’s head of longhaul product, said there was still big demand for Bali, but noted that there were more hotel openings in Danang, and they were more “switched on to the UK market”.

From TTG Asia