In mid-July, a group of 460 Indian business tourists boarded flights to Ho Chi Minh City, officially starting a journey to discover Vietnam in just 3 days.
|Vietnam becoming favourite destination for Indian tourists |
The group, which consisted of Indian bus and truck manufacturing representatives, stayed at the 5-star Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 and Le Meridien hotels to attend a conference, then went to visit some famous tourist attractions in the city and moved to Tien Giang before returning home. This was the largest Indian delegation to Vietnam for nearly three years.
B. Subhash Chandar, managing director of Asia Destination Management JSC (Asia DMC) in Vietnam and the organiser of the trip said, “Indians are used to destinations like Thailand, Singapore, and Dubai, but Vietnam is still a new destination to them. All Indian tourists are very excited to come here and explore.”
He aims to bring at least 6,000 Indian tourists to Vietnam through company tours by the end of this year. In 2019, his company previously brought more than 5,000 Indian guests to the country.
According to Google Destination Insights, search volume for airlines to Vietnam from India increased by 400 per cent on-year in early April alone, and continued to increase by over 3,000 per cent a month later. Since the beginning of June, this rate has increased at a stable rate of more than 1,000 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of searches for accommodation in Vietnam has also tripled since the beginning of April.
The most searched destinations by Indian people include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Quy Nhon, Danang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Dalat, and Halong.
With a population of 1.4 billion people and a middle class of up to 200-300 million people with high shopping, entertainment, and consumption needs, India is becoming a potential high-end tourist market for the Vietnamese tourism industry.
According to data from the National Administration of Tourism, the number of Indian visitors to Vietnam increased from 65,600 arrivals in 2015 to 169,000 arrivals in 2019, putting India in the top 16 markets with the most international visitors to Vietnam in 2019.
But this growth is not considered commensurate with the potential, because when compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, the number of Indian visitors to Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia in 2019 was much higher at 1.9 million, 1.4 million, and 735,000 respectively, based on data from Asia DMC.
Travel businesses specialising in serving the Indian market admit that tourists like to eat, party, and stay in beautiful resorts. They never go alone, but often go with a group of friends or family. They are careful about travel and eating but spend very heavily on consumption and shopping.
Pham Tien Dung, CEO of Golden Tour, a travel company that has been exploiting the Indian market for many years, shared that many countries are planning to attract Indian tourists to replace the shortage of Chinese tourists.
“Indian companies spend a lot of money on organising travel for employees. Vietnam’s tourism industry should have a continuous promotion plan in line with their needs and tastes, especially increasing access to big Indian corporations,” said Dung.
Pham Sanh Chau, Vietnamese ambassador to India, also suggested that wedding tourism for Indian guests is a segment rich in potential. “Every year, the country has 10 million weddings and it boasts two million wedding companies,” he said. He suggested that the tourism industry should make promotional videos on Indian weddings held in Vietnam to sell related tours.
According to Asia DMC, India’s overseas wedding market is estimated to be worth more than $600 million and growing each year at a rate of 25-30 per cent. Popular destinations for weddings are Thailand, UAE, Malaysia, Bali, and Greece. In contrast, Vietnam attracted only a handful of weddings in Phu Quoc and Danang in 2019 before travel was restricted.
Nguyen Vu Khac Huy, vice chairman of Kien Giang Tourism Association, admitted that although Phu Quoc was once one of the destinations chosen by the super-rich in India as a wedding venue, apart from the beautiful scenery, this coastal city still lacks high-class tourism products such as yachts, supercars, and seaplane services. “In the coming time, we should promote this type of tourism service to attract the attention of more high-end customers,” emphasised Huy.
As revealed by Asia DMC’s Chandar, an Indian billionaire’s wedding is expected in October and another high-profile wedding is slated for December. Currently, these two events are in the process of finalising the venue in Vietnam.
To prepare for the explosion of Indian tourists in the near future, Vietnamese airlines are planning to increase flights to major cities of the South Asian country. Vietjet announced the opening of 13 new routes from Hanoi, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Phu Quoc to five cities in India, bringing the total number of routes to India to 17. In June, Vietnam Airlines launched the first direct flight from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to New Delhi.