Vietnam’s competition authority officially launched its investigation on Tuesday into a tourism firm accused of attempting to monopolize the Russian tourism market.
Bach Van Mung, director of the Competition Administration Department of the Industry and Trade Ministry, opened the case against Anh Duong Company based on a complaint lodged by its competitor ABTours in April using evidence gathered last month, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Nguyen Ngoc Luong, general director of ABTours, said Anh Duong which partnered with Russia-based Pegas Touristik to bring Russian tourists to Vietnam, booked out hotels in Nha Trang and nearby Phan Thiet and Phan Rang towns and the southern island Phu Quoc.
Anh Duong’s contracts with the hotels required them to exclusively accept bookings from Russian, Ukrainian and other Russian Commonwealth tourists provided by Anh Duong only.
Many hotels refused clients from ABTours or other agents despite having available rooms. Some agreed to offer such rooms at inflated prices.
Sources at the hotels and other travel agents have confirmed the complaints.
Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province has been a top destination for Russian tourists to Vietnam since Cam Ranh Airport (some 30 kilometers from the central beach town) was upgraded to serve as an international airport in 2009.
Luong said Anh Duong signed exclusive contracts with 43 hotels and resorts in Khanh Hoa Province alone.
“We want to develop, to expand the market but we had no chance. Without hotel rooms, we cannot bring out tours,” he told Tuoi Tre.
The Pegas – Anh Duong partnership brought in half of the nearly 300,000 Russian arrivals to Vietnam in 2013.
Pegas-An Duong were responsible for 720 out of the 730 charter flights carrying Russian visitors to Cam Ranh International Airport.