Building professionalism and turning tourism into an industry that contributes significantly to economic growth is the goal of the first National Tourism Industry Summit.
According to Dr. Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), tourism is an important economic sector.
"As long as tourism still competes mainly on price, it cannot create a breakthrough," Loc said. “Elements of culture, art, cuisine, spirituality, medical treatment, beauty care, cultural factors and other industries are not yet symbiotic and complementary to the tourism sector. Tourism development in the future needs to focus on overcoming these bottlenecks."
According to the General Statistics Office, tourism currently contributes less than 2 per cent of GDP. The impact of the pandemic has caused tourism revenue to decrease sharply. In 2019, tourism contributed more than 9 per cent of the country's GDP.
By the end of September, Vietnam's tourism industry had welcomed 8.9 million international visitors, 4.7 times higher than the same period last year, but still only 69 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. The country set a target of welcoming eight million international visitors this year and is planning to adjust the target to 12-13 million, according to information from the Vietnam National Tourism Administration.
At the National Tourism Industry Summit taking place on October 7, Dr. Dinh Viet Hoa, president of the Vietnam National Entrepreneur Association said, "The programme aims to implement the Party's resolution on tourism development and the government's policies to support startups and promote tourism economy, encourage trade and investment promotion.”
The forum includes in-depth seminars on health and beauty tourism trends, marketing to expand markets in the digital age, connecting trade and import-export, and national tourism development.
Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam said, "The potential of Vietnam's tourism industry is unlimited. I think Vietnamese tourism should be more ambitious in attracting high-end tourist groups. The National Tourism Industry Summit will be a mark to bring Vietnam's sector to a new level."
Le Cong Nang, general director of Wondertour Travel, expects that Vietnam's tourism industry will make better use of its cultural and culinary strengths as well as add additional forms of entertainment and night economy to increase guests' spending, and to maximise and sustainably exploit the benefits that the tourism industry can bring.
"We estimate that international visitors to Vietnam spend about $100 per day, while this figure in Thailand is $160 per day. In many tourist destinations in Vietnam, there still exists a story of visitors not knowing what to do, or the service closes after midnight, while Vietnamese customers when going to shows, discos, entertainment and spend a lot in the evening," Nang said.