Luring top music acts a key for tourism boost in Vietnam

July 10, 2023 | 09:17
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The significance of concerts such as the upcoming Blackpink gig in Vietnam presents an opportunity for the country to enhance its international image and stimulate tourism.
Luring top music acts a key for tourism boost in Vietnam
South Korean outfit Blackpink will take over My Dinh Stadium at the end of this month, Photo: FBNV

The upcoming Blackpink concert, spanning two nights on July 29-30 and scheduled to take place at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi, inevitably sold out numerous ticket categories almost as soon as they went on sale last Friday.

Trang Nguyen, a devoted long-term follower of Blackpink, had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to witness her idols perform live ever since news of the concert emerged. Despite the considerable cost of a standing ticket priced at nearly $290, which accounts for almost half of her monthly income, Trang remained resolute in her pursuit of acquiring one.

“While I had originally planned to save money for a trip to South Korea, the chance to see Blackpink perform right here in Hanoi makes this ticket seem like a worthwhile investment for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.

Vietnamese celebrities such as Minh Hang, Pham Quynh Anh, and Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc have taken to social media platforms to share their enthusiasm for the upcoming concert, openly expressing their intentions to purchase tickets not only for themselves but also for their families and loved ones.

Lee Weon Suk, general director of Daehong Communications Vietnam said, “Fans demonstrate a strong willingness to pay significant amounts of money to acquire tickets for such music events. Fans of Blackpink will eagerly purchase tickets despite the high prices.”

Increase in interest

According to Suk, the success of the upcoming Blackpink concert could hold significant potential as a catalyst for attracting numerous global superstars to confidently enter the Vietnamese market.

“In line with Thailand’s success, Vietnam has potential to emerge as a prominent music destination within the region. Hosting concerts can contribute significantly to the growth of the tourism industry and the overall economy by generating revolving revenue. Furthermore, this presents a valuable opportunity for domestic businesses to collaborate and engage idols as brand ambassadors, resulting in increased sales revenue,” he said.

In fact, Thailand has previously experienced economic success by leveraging music concerts featuring South Korean groups to revitalise their economy. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was one of the key sponsors for Blackpink’s latest concert in the country in May.

“Music concerts have proven instrumental in generating revenue for the tourism industry and the economy,” a TAT representative said.

Statistics from TAT shows that during the Blackpink concert, there was a notable surge in the number of international visitors to Thailand. Apart from domestic fans, the concert has attracted enthusiasts from countries such as Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

As many individuals took the opportunity to combine attending the concert with a visit to Thailand, a significant increase in bookings for accommodations and entertainment venues and greater exposure and recognition of local cuisine and traditional costumes among international tourists were recorded.

Data from Posten Thailand also indicated that the tourism sector earned over $20-30 million in revenue from accommodation, airfares, and consumer spending during the five days preceding and following the Blackpink concert.

“This is an opportunity to promote and draw international tourists. We welcome opportunities like this, and will create all conditions for the concert to take place successfully,” said director of Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Dinh Hong.

Following the announcement of the concert, many international fans have already begun seeking information about the country, including transport and accommodation. On Chinese social network Weibo, Blackpink fans have been actively seeking information regarding fares, ticket booking procedures, and immigration requirements, as well as convenient and cost-effective modes of transportation for their journey.

Furthermore, there is significant interest among fans regarding tourist attractions in Hanoi, reflecting their enthusiasm to explore the city alongside attending the concert.

In response to the soaring demand, numerous travel agencies have swiftly developed accommodation and travel packages that combine visits to historical sites and scenic landscapes in Hanoi, aiming to retain international tourists during their attendance at the Blackpink concert.

“The business community can leverage this opportunity to enhance sales and promote their brands, either by forging collaborations with these artists or exploring products with Korean origins, which are highly sought after by the young generation,” said Dr. Tran Thi Bich Hanh, business head at Swinburne Vietnam.

“Members of these groups actively participate in international cultural and social events, further enhancing their positive image and subsequently influencing a significant population of young individuals to follow suit. This phenomenon ultimately contributes to the growth of the economy,” Hanh said.

Ensuring more options

In the same vein, Dr. Daisy Kanagasapapathy, lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism Management at RMIT University Vietnam, considers the forthcoming Blackpink concert in Hanoi a significant milestone not only for the K-pop industry but also for Vietnam’s music tourism sector.

Kanagasapapathy outlined several strategies which the tourism industry should adopt to fully capitalise on the opportunities presented. First is fostering collaboration among tourism management agencies, event organisers, and local businesses.

“This involves creating comprehensive travel packages that integrate concert tickets with customised travel itineraries, enticing music tourists to explore the country beyond the performance itself, and encouraging them to extend their stay,” she said.

Secondly, ensuring convenient and reliable travel options to Vietnam is essential, including developing international flight routes and establishing an efficient domestic transportation system that facilitates seamless travel arrangements for music tourists.

“Thirdly, providing comfortable accommodation options in close proximity to performance venues and other popular tourist destinations will enhance the overall visitor experience, thereby encouraging longer stays and further engagement with the local tourism offerings,” she added.

After many years of struggling to attract major names in music, in 2022 Vietnam hosted a gig by White Stripes frontman Jack White in Ho Chi Minh City, and welcomed British boy bands Blue, A1, and 911 to a music festival in Hanoi.

Last week in The Guardian, attention was brought to the lack of infrastructure for neighbouring nations such as the Philippines and Thailand to be able to lure in global names such as Taylor Swift, who chose Singapore as her only Southeast Asia stop on her latest tour.

Rakesh Mani - Leader, Southeast Asia Consumer Markets, PwC

Luring top music acts a key for tourism boost in Vietnam

There are a few different things at play in what distinguishes K-pop and makes it an international phenomenon. A lot of this has to do with the very catchy tunes, impressive choreography, appealing music videos, and energetic performances.

Compared to several years ago, there’s a greater interest among Asian consumers to find cultural influences and sources of inspiration that are more relevant to how they live their lives. It applies to music, food, customer interaction, and many other areas. So there’s a shift from west to east, which is a huge turning point for Asia as a continent.

Another factor is social media, and many of these bands have been able to catch that wave of Instagram, Tiktok, and Snapchat, which allows them to access so many more people, not just in terms of delivering content but also in engaging with their fans. It makes the connection a lot deeper.

Lastly, while the South Korean entertainment industry has been quite deliberate in catering to their domestic audiences in the past, they are now moving outside their borders to the rest of Asia and much far beyond as well. What’s really remarkable is the extent of the international following, not just in South Korea, not just in Southeast Asia, but in markets that you may not ordinarily expect, like Europe or the United States.

Vietnam and plenty of other markets, in comparison to South Korea, still have room for progress in fostering an environment that encourages young creatives and giving them the space and freedom to tell their stories. Through the story of K-pop, we’ve seen the power of a great product that can be delivered digitally.

In the same vein, we can help young creatives in Vietnam tell their stories in the format and medium that is relevant to them and help them get it out there in an organised fashion, with less regulatory hurdles, and use that as a way to spur demand for tourism and local brands.

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