The devaluation of the Vietnam dong against the
U.S. dollar has cost outbound tour operators who had signed big contracts before
the dong dropped last week.
Sales of outbound tours have not suffered yet, but tour operators have already
lost money in their already-signed tour deals and they are concerned by the
rising price of the dollar on the unofficial market.
Luu Dinh Phuc of Viettours said local people were still purchasing outbound
tours as normal but the company, which specializes in arranging group tours for
companies, would need more time to evaluate the impact of the high rate.
In the short term, the company has incurred a big loss from its contracts signed
before August 18 when the central bank let the dong fall against the greenback.
He said big groups normally paid 45-60 days after the invoice was issued so the
dong devaluation from VND19,400 to VND19,154 per dollar meant losses especially
for contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Operators were also worried about the high price of the dollar on the black
market as commercial banks often refuse to sell dollars when the currency is in
short supply, forcing outbound tour operators to buy dollars on the underground
“The price on the unofficial market is higher than the price at the banks but we
need to buy dollars for overseas payments. Its going to cost us more,” said Dinh
Kim Phuong, director of Carnival Tours.
Travel companies use one of two ways to set the price of the U.S. dollar –
either the commercial bank price or the agreed price as the average of the bank
and unofficial market prices.
Companies that get paid in U.S. dollar from inbound tourists and those selling
tours for companies use the first way. The agreed price is used by companies
selling individual outbound tours.
The company still uses the official price for big contracts but is considering
resorting to the agreed price for group company tours and may ask individual
travelers to pay by U.S dollars if the price on the black market keeps going up,
Phuong of Carnival Tour said.
“Some big customers agree to pay by the agreed price but we will deal with them
if the price of the dollar on the black market rises. Costumers will have to
think harder when they sign the contract.”