Localities go creative in digital tourism

December 01, 2022 | 15:06
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Accelerating digitalisation is a solution for tourism businesses to reduce operating costs and open up opportunities to improve visitor experiences.

This has been a year of innovation and creativity for the tourism industry of the northern port city of Haiphong, with the locality spending as much as $870,000 of the total budget of about $13 million to digitalise the tourism industry.

Deputy director of Haiphong Department of Tourism Vu Huy Thuong said the budget is being used to upgrade the city’s tourism website into a smart tourism portal, improve public services, and promote tourism on digital platforms.

Haiphong currently has about 580 hotels and guesthouses with over 15,550 rooms, including more than 20 4-5 star hotels and nearly 100 travel service businesses. Many tourism establishments in Haiphong have invested in building websites, promoting on social networking platforms, and online travel agencies.

Localities go creative in digital tourism
Localities go creative in digital tourism, source: Haiphong City Tour

“The Haiphong City Tour digital map has made an important contribution to this success,” said Thuong. “All information about the city’s restaurants, shops, tourist and shopping services including opening and closing times, listed prices, parking, and directions is provided on the application, helping visitors have complete suggestions when choosing the tourist destination.”

The digital map can be found on the Haiphong City Tour website. All locations introduced on the map are guaranteed by the Haiphong tourism industry in terms of food hygiene and safety to ensure that visitors have the best experience. As a result, the number of tourists to the city from other provinces or beyond reached 6.04 million in the first 10 months of 2022, an increase of 77 per cent on-year. Due to last year’s restrictions, international arrivals have increased by more than 900 per cent.

“The Hanoi-Haiphong railway line is currently the most active line in the country with about five routes per day on weekends, serving more than 20,000 passengers per day, about four times higher than before,” Thuong said.

Vietnam’s tourism development strategy to 2030 set out to accelerate the digital transformation process in the tourism industry, towards the formation and development of a smart tourism ecosystem.

Ha Van Sieu, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said, “The cooperation between technology platforms and tourism and travel businesses will accelerate the process of adapting and effectively applying digital transformation.”

A partnership between Haiphong and Traveloka, a travel service platform with more than 100 million users in Southeast Asia, is one example of the city’s efforts. Earlier this year, Traveloka supported Haiphong to build an online travel trading platform, creating an additional promotion channel to bring tourism products of businesses in the city to tourists and ensure a transparent transaction process.

“All businesses participating in Traveloka’s project will have access to market research databases and advice on development plans in line with regional and world tourism trends. The project is currently focusing on accommodation facilities. In the near future, we want to expand to other service facilities such as beauty, fitness, and cinema services,” said country manager Traveloka Vietnam Huynh Mai Thy.

Despite having to invest in resources, tourism groups said they will accelerate digitalisation as soon as the opportunity arises because technology has helped businesses in saving operating costs and expanding opportunities to reach customers.

Tran Phuong Linh, director of Marketing and IT at BenThanh Tourist, said, “We focus on upgrading the management software in tour operation so that employees of all branches can work on one system. We are also promoting marketing that moves from offline to online channels.”

Elsewhere in the country, Le Sands Oceanfront Danang Hotel in the central city of Danang is a 4-star establishment located on the coast of My Khe, and has been in operation since April. General manager Pham Ba Hoa said that promotion on online channels is currently the hotel’s lifeline. The end of the year is the low season for Danang, but linking with online booking platforms still gives the hotel a steady source of income.

“The number of guests booking through online channels currently accounts for two-thirds of all bookings. We also focus on collating a customer database for digital marketing, helping to increase the number of customers,” Hoa said.

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Within the framework of the Vietnam International Tourism Mart Hanoi 2022, the Tourism Information Centre coordinated with Vietsens Group to organise a programme named Digital Transformation in the Tourism Industry on April 2.

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Localities nationwide are accelerating digital transformation to create breakthroughs in the tourism sector.

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Traveloka as a technology company is making efforts to fulfil its commitment to support the government and its partners towards digital transformation and sustainable development in the tourism sector.

By Thai An

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