Excitement palpable for future of tourism

November 29, 2023 | 10:34
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The tourism and hotel industry is being more careful in its plans to promote business growth in the face of shifting needs, and preferences for tourist groups in the future.

“Where next?” was the main topic of the Markethub Asia conference organised by Hotelbeds in Bangkok city of Thailand last week, providing wide-ranging information about development trends and tourism opportunities in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East from this year.

Excitement palpable for future of tourism
Vietnam has the potential to engage a vast number of budding tourists in upcoming years

About 400 representatives from tourism service providers in key markets in the region, tourism experts and representatives of international hotel brands discussed together ideas based on their own experiences.

According to Carlos Munoz, chief commercial officer of HBX Group, the parent company of Hotelbeds, the four key factors that current and future travellers are paying attention to include connected trips and personal experiences, more sustainable travel, insurance services and finance, and continuous customer experience.

“This is a big change in thinking, and I am very surprised by it. The pandemic has caused travellers to look at travel from a different perspective, and expect more value than what they pay for. The consumer perspective is clear. They want to move away from conventional experiences,” Munoz said.

According to Pippa Williamson, vice president of commercial for Asia-Pacific at HBX Group, technology and innovation key, and the biggest element of what customers say is important to them.

“We have different competitors and different elements of our business, but by being able to provide an ecosystem and suite of products, we will no longer compete in those individual arenas,” she added.

HBX Group is the umbrella brand for brands like Hotelbeds, Bedsonline, TravelStack, and Roiback. Instead of providing a set of products for everyone, HBX is now curating products based on the mass of data available, with a processing speed of about four billion searches per day.

“We can provide a local product to global clients. We can also provide a global client base to our hotels, which means they’re not overly reliant on any one source market. We get a lot more stability in terms of seasonality of travel by having that diversity,” Williamson said.

As the only resort from Vietnam joining sponsorship for MarketHub Asia, Wyndham Grand Phu Quoc’s general manager Minh Ngo told VIR that participating in this event was a great opportunity to bring the Wyndham’s image to international customers.

“We were eager to accompany this special event because Hotelbeds is one of the largest platforms in the travel industry, trusted and known by travellers worldwide,” Ngo said. “This is a great opportunity for us to meet and exchange experiences as well as showcase our imposing natural landscapes via luxury services with hundreds of international travel agents worldwide.”

According to Google Trends, Vietnam has been ranked 11th in the world in terms of tourist accommodation search volume since the beginning of 2023, and is one of two Southeast Asian countries in the top group worldwide.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Vietnam ranks 20th in the top countries with the highest economic growth rate in the world with an expected rate of 5.8 per cent next year, higher than the world average of 2.9 per cent. The tourism industry, therefore, brings many attractive development opportunities.

“Vietnam as a source market is becoming even more relevant and exciting. This is also our key market in Southeast Asia,” said Munoz of HBX Group. “Vietnam is currently recording a significant number of investments both foreign, both domestically and internationally. The number of international brands that are building their brands here is growing.”

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam had greeted about 10 million international visitors by the end of October this year. Rapid economic recovery has become the driving force for Vietnam’s tourism industry to increase its target of serving eight million international visitors this year to 12-13 million.

“Vietnam’s travel trends are very different, and the rising middle class is very evident. I think those that have been there earlier will benefit from the halo effect of having the Vietnamese start to travel outbound,” said Williamson of HBX Group.

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By Oanh Do

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