The number of Indian tourists to Vietnam saw impressive growth in 2022, and it is expected to accelerate further.
According to the General Statistics Office, in 2022, Vietnam greeted more than 3.66 million international visitors, of which India was the market with the strongest recovery with 82 per cent year-on-year.
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Nguyen Thanh Hai said that India was a very popular religious destination for Vietnamese people, especially Buddhists. India is also a favourite destination for many Vietnamese tourists to experience and enjoy interesting activities such as meditation, and yoga.
Some places in India like Kashmir and Rishikesh are becoming more and more popular and attracting Vietnamese tourists.
The number of Indian visitors to Vietnam in 2022 is expected to reach 137,900 people, ranking ninth in the top 10 markets sending tourists to Vietnam.
The above results are due to many direct flights between major cities of the two countries being connected. There are 21 direct air routes, with over 60 flights per week, connecting Vietnam with India which facilitates travel between the two countries.
Recently, the two countries have strengthened their promotional tourism. For example, the programme “Vietnam Days in India 2022" took place in New Delhi (India) in December 2022, and a project to lure tourists from India and the Middle East hosted by Da Nang City Department of Tourism was held in September 2022.
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Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said that besides advantages such as many similarities in terms of Buddhist culture, beliefs, and many Indian restaurants in the city, Ho Chi Minh City still had many challenges to effectively exploit this market.
For example, Indian visitors are considered to be punctilious in choosing products and services. To attract Indian tourists in the long-run term, the localities and businesses should invest in characteristic infrastructure, because the Indian visitor group has specific needs related to religious beliefs and living habits.
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Subhash Prasad Gupta said that the two countries should promote art, cuisine, and research similar cultural features.
India is the birthplace of Buddhism, so many Indian people are often vegetarian. It is important to meals for Indian tourists.
Le Vinh, owner of an eight-hotel chain, said that Indian culture has its own characteristics, focusing on spices in each dish. Currently, chefs specialising in Indian dishes are still lacking, and the system of restaurants and hotels specialising in serving Indian dishes is not yet popular. Most Indian tourists to Vietnam will eat at the hotels, instead of eating out, so it is very difficult to provide food in line with Indian culture and beliefs.
"Vietnam needs to have a more open policy in the process of border-gate visas for Indian people, facilitating Indian tourists, chefs, and workers to easily enter Vietnam," he said.
To solve the problem of diversifying products and services to serve this tourist group, it is necessary to have policies such as allowing Indian tourists to bring their own chefs, and rent space to cook for themselves.
“Vietnam needs to quickly train chiefs who can cook Indian dishes to be proactive in greeting this potential market,” Vinh added.
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By Hanh Thanh