Absolute Asia Travel, a Vietnamese tour operator specialising in inbound travel to Vietnam and the Greater Mekong Subregion, welcomed the first group of Mongolian tourists to enter Vietnam since the pandemic.
With a traveller base predominantly from North America and Europe, the tour operator was hit hard by the onset of Covid-19 – the borders had closed and there were no indications as to when visitors would be allowed to return.
Venturing into alternative source markets, Absolute Asia Travel partnered sales representative for South-east Asia, Pear Anderson, in 2020, believing that Asian markets would be faster to rebound than longer-haul ones – the strategy paid off.
When Vietnam started to reopen this year, Absolute Asia Travel found an unexpected lead in a Mongolian travel agency, Cruise Tour Mongolia. What began as an initial quote led to more serious discussions, and resulted in the tour operator handling the ground arrangements for the first group of Mongolian tourists to enter Vietnam just nine days after the country reopened.
On March 24, 2022, 130 Mongolian passengers flew in and travelled on an eight-day trip to Hanoi and Phu Quoc. Cruise Tour Mongolia is now planning 15 back-to-back direct flights to Hanoi with Absolute Asia Travel handling all the arrangements Vietnam-side.
Dong Minh Tuan, director of sales and marketing, Absolute Asia Travel, said: “The Mongolian market is one that Absolute Asia Travel had never even considered before the pandemic, and goes to show that our strategy of looking at new sources of inbound visitors is starting to pay off, now that Vietnam is open. With South-east and East Asia also reopening, we are keen to start working together with new Asian partners to showcase all Vietnam has to offer.”
Amar Munkhbat, international affairs manager, Cruise Tour Mongolia, shared: “We discovered Phu Quoc Island in January through internet research and wrote to many tour operators in Vietnam looking for a company to support us.
“Luckily, we came across Absolute Asia Travel, who were so professional in their communications – and their quote was one of the most competitive. The tours have been selling very well and seen a great deal of interest from Mongolian travellers. From March 24 until now, we have sold 780 seats.”