This past weekend (Nov 9-11) Typhoon/Tropical Depression Haiyan passed from the East Sea (aka South China Sea) through Northeastern Vietnam and into mainland China. Many airports were forced to close and the cities of Danang and Hue had to manage without power. Some travelers were advised to evacuate, as in our case study below.
Willamette Intl Travel agent Nancy had organized a tour for travelers Arianne and Jason with V’Explore Tours, one of our preferred vendors in SE Asia. They had originally planned to travel from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh on Monday, but due to the storm were forced to fly on Saturday instead. The timeline that follows is based on time in Portland, Oregon (15 hours earlier than Vietnam time).
Friday Nov 8, AM: Nancy speaks with V’Explore manager Derrick Tran about the situation. Tran maintained in touch with the Vietnam offices so is aware of the emergency services on the ground. Chau, V’Explore’s general manager in the country, has already contacted clients and provided his 24/7-hour cell phone.
Friday, Nov 8, AM: Nancy contacts Jason and Arianne, asking them if they wanted to move their Ho Chi Minh flight to Saturday. The hotel already plans to move them to their sister hotel, away from the beach. She assures them that the hotel staff is quite capable at preparing for storms, but advises them that it may be better to leave central Vietnam earlier, as the typhoon is quite large.
Friday, Nov 8, PM: Derrick Tran speaks with Jason and Arianne, and recaps the evacuation operation for Saturday to Nancy.
Saturday, Nov 9, AM: V’Explore tours arranges emergency transfers to Hue that evening, to catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City at 6pm. Chau organizes two extra nights at a hotel in the city. The staff charges the cost of the flight and the hotel to the clients’ card. The emergency transfer evacuation from Hoi An to Hue is complimentary from V’Explore. After their flight on Saturday, both Danang and Hue airports close.
Monday, Nov 11, AM: Since the clients had purchased travel insurance from Nancy before their departure, Nancy files a claim upon their behalf to cover the cost of the extra hotel nights and the flight. Any unexpected expenditures are currently being worked out.
By Monday, Nov 11, many tours had recommenced and by Tuesday status quo had returned to Vietnam. We’d like to thank all of our fantastic vendors and agents who worked hard to manage the safety and comfort of our travelers!