The brief two-day visit of retired English football (soccer) player David Beckham to Vietnam early this week could be worth an estimated VND1 billion (roughly US$50,000), according to local media.
The second Vietnam trip of Beckham, after his 2003 visit, proved a non-football one as he was only in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, to promote a beverage brand instead of taking part in any football-related activities.
Although it has been years since the heyday of the ex-Manchester United winger, Beckham was still the center of attention whenever he appeared during the trip.
Crowds of supporters patiently waited outside the airports where he arrived at, the hotels where he stayed, and the venues where he met reporters and local special guests to see their idol in the flesh.
His autographs and photos were still worth dying for to Vietnamese fans but Beckham only met some high-profile people and media inmeetings behind closed doors in the southern metropolis.
The rapturous welcome he received from Vietnamese media and fans indicates that the huge money the organizers spent on organizing the PR trip paid off, according to Vietnamese-language newswire VTC News.
The 39-year-old midfielder arrived at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport from Hong Kong on a private jet, and left the Vietnamese capital city for Ho Chi Minh City on the same aircraft, which VTC said cost $15,000 to charter, including airport fees.
Beckham left the airports and traveled to his hotels and meeting venues on a Mercedes S63 coupe whose daily rent was $1,000, according to the newswire.
The Englishman spent Monday night at the five-star Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, whose room rate is at least $3,000 a day. He also enjoyed a massage service upon arrival and had breakfast at the luxury hotel, which could be billed around $200 each.
VTC said the most enormous expense for the trip was for hiring the body guards for the public figure, which is estimated to range from $30,000 to $40,000 for a two-day service.
The total cost of the trip would be much bigger if the compensation for Beckham were counted.
But Soha News, a Hanoi-based newswire, said no compensation was required as Beckham is the co-owner of the alcoholic brand he is endorsing across Southeast Asia.
“So Beckham covered the trip by himself, and no one had to pay a billion dong to invite him to Vietnam,” the newswire concluded.