New approaches in Vietnam’s tourism

October 02, 2023 | 15:34
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With tourism rankings no longer having a significant impact on increasing foreign visitor numbers, the tourism industry has begun to prioritise resources for direct promotion programmes in key international markets.

On September 16, Quang Nam chose India as the first destination of its first provincial tourism promotion programme since the pandemic, opening the door for further activities set to take place elsewhere in the coming months.

Deputy director of the Quang Nam Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Van Ba Son said many tourism products and services of the province had been introduced to Indian partners during a four-day event in Mumbai city in mid-September. Businesses and travel associations from both sides also reached an agreement on cooperation in exchanging guests, opening up more attractive development opportunities for the tourism industries of the two countries in the future.

“We chose India because this country is in the top 10 largest international tourist markets in Vietnam. The number of Indian tourists coming here is increasing, the two countries also have many similarities in culture and religion and both have advantages in developing cultural tours,” Son said.

Shakti Singh Kavia, representative of Indian Travel Recipes, shared at a tourism seminar at the Namaste Vietnam Festival in Ho Chi Minh City in August, “Wedding tourism has been popular in India for many years. Indians love to travel with family and friends to new and emerging destinations abroad to hold memorable weddings and enjoy a vacation at the same time. Vietnam is absolutely a good new choice for such luxurious events.”

New approaches in Vietnam’s tourism

At the seminar, 50 Vietnamese and Indian travel companies had the opportunity to meet and discuss to create a foundation for long-term cooperative relationships. Accordingly, wedding tourism and events tourism are the most mentioned types to deploy in Vietnam.

Data from the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Quang Nam shows that in the first six months of 2023, the total number of Indian tourists coming to Quang Nam was about 25,000, accounting for nearly 18 per cent of the number of Indian tourists coming to Vietnam in the same period. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) predicts that there will be about half a million Indian visitors to Vietnam this year, largely thanks to direct flights.

Meanwhile, Danang also launched an initiative to promote golf and events tourism in South Korea last week.

South Korea is the leading market of Danang tourism, accounting for almost half of the annual international visitor structure. Besides golf or events industry services, Danang is also a favourite beach resort destination. The city is positioning its golf destination brand on the regional and world map after hosting the Asian Development Tour for three consecutive years from 2022-2024.

A unified message

Visa changes in Vietnam in August are creating stronger conditions for the country’s tourism. However, in addition to open policies, many experts believe that the industry needs to launch a comprehensive and attractive communication campaign, focusing on direct tourism promotion activities in major international tourist markets to achieve greater efficiency, in addition to traditional marketing programmes.

Nguyen Son Thuy, general secretary of the Quang Nam Tourism Association said, “There is still a lack of tourism promotion activities in foreign markets. Not only is there a lack of personnel, but the budget to participate in seminars, travel fairs, and roadshows is also lower than other countries in the region.”

Thuy added that most current foreign tourism promotion programmes are self-organised and self-funded by businesses, while countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, or Japan all have representative offices and promotion agencies abroad.

“Due to the lack of direction and strategy from the beginning, current tourism promotion work is scattered, unprofessional, and inconsistent in the overall message, so the effectiveness is not high,” said the vice chairman of Quang Nam Tourism Association.

According to Hoang Nhan Chinh, secretariat director of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, the VNAT does not have an official tourism promotion office abroad, while the Thailand and Singapore tourism boards have well over a dozen representative offices worldwide.

“To effectively advertise and promote tourism, it is necessary to survey, research, and evaluate each key market to understand the needs of tourists and the approach of the tourism industry. To accomplish this, the tourism industry needs to have tourism promotion offices abroad, especially in key markets,” Chinh said.

According to Google’s Destination Insights travel trend tracker, the search volume for Vietnamese tourism has been continuously increasing since the beginning of the year and is among the top in the world with a growth rate of 10-25 per cent.

Tourism hikes

The appeal of Vietnam tourism is also being recognised by numerous online travel platforms.

President of Traveloka Caesar Indra has pointed out that travellers from all over the world are descending into Vietnam, highlighting the robust recovery of international travel.

“Our internal data for the first half of 2023 shows a remarkable surge in inbound international trips to Vietnam, which has increased by nearly 90 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. Notably, we observed a substantial increase in travellers from China, Thailand, and Indonesia,” Indra said.

He added that Vietnam’s unique allure stems from its diverse natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, renowned cuisine, warm hospitality, and ease of travel. “This blend of historical charm and modern urban centres, along with opportunities for immersive local experiences, make the country a distinct and appealing destination in the region,” Indra said.

Vietnam’s new visa policy offers a great deal of convenience to international travellers. Data from Traveloka indicates that there is a burgeoning interest in Vietnam following the launch of the new policy, reinforcing the belief that these changes are a welcome boost to the tourism industry ahead of the peak season.

“This is a step in the right direction, allowing Vietnam to draw in visitors from around the world and enhance its competitiveness in the long run,” Indra added.

Data from the Traveloka platform shows that the top destinations on the platform are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh and Ninh Binh. Hanoi alone welcomed over 2 million foreign visitors in the first half of 2023, while more than 1.9 million foreign tourists visited Ho Chi Minh City.

The first six months of this year also saw an impressive 8.86 million tourists visit Quang Ninh, reaching a phenomenal 108 per cent of the projected target and 161 per cent above 2022 figures.

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