Travel firms aiming for tourism boost

January 26, 2024 | 15:48
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Recent statistics published by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) showed the number of international visitors to Vietnam hit 12.6 million in 2023, 3.4 times higher than in 2022, and far exceeding the initial target of eight million.
Travel firms aiming for tourism boost

This year, Vietnam's tourism industry is aiming to welcome 17-18 million international visitors and serve 110 million domestic tourists, achieving a total revenue of around VND840 trillion ($35.44 billion).

However, according to the VNAT, despite the recovery last year, particularly the outstanding 230 per cent increase in travellers from India, and the 176 per cent increase from Cambodia, the tourism industry still faces many problems. Slow economic growth, increasing inflation, and ongoing regional conflicts have all contributed to an unpredictable global situation.

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) announced a recovery in global tourism of 90 per cent last year, making Vietnam's numbers modest by comparison. Furthermore, other countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore have recovered faster, although Vietnam reopened for tourism sooner.

“Most travellers coming from Vietnam's traditional markets, such as China, South Korea, and Japan, stay for a short time and do not spend much money. In addition, the recovery of Chinese tourist numbers remains modest, equal to just 30 per cent of the number in 2019. Meanwhile, high-spending tourists from the United States and Europe only account for a low proportion,” said Pham Ha, founder of LuxGroup, a luxury travel and tourism company and cruise operator.

Several travel agencies have stated that the recovery in visitor numbers has come in part from the relaxation of Vietnam's visa policies, while the impact of advertising and promotional activities has been minor, leading many to believe that Vietnam lacks the ambition and proper strategy to create an effective breakthrough for the industry. Meanwhile, other countries in Southeast Asia set ambitious targets for the new year in the third and fourth quarters last year. Thailand, for example, set a goal of welcoming 40 million international visitors in 2024.

Nguyen Van Hung, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has instructed the VNAT to develop a green-tourism strategy and implement the action plan of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to encourage the development of new products. The industry is also developing themed marketing campaigns for the domestic and international markets and building a national tourism database.

However, according to Ha, before designing new tourism products, Vietnam needs to identify its strengths, position the national brand, and identify its target customers, all while moving in a sustainable development direction.

“The current budget for advertising and promotion is too small compared to other countries in the region, while marketing content needs to be more attractive and emotionally resonant. In addition, placing representative offices in certain countries also has to be considered to better understand our target markets," said Ha.

“Over the past year, LuxGroup recovered by over 90 per cent and enters this new year with high ambitions. We must continue to innovate and bring wonderful experiences to our customers. Furthermore, we understand that any future development must be sustainable,” he added.

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