Vietnam tourism expects breakthrough development.06/04/2023
Vietnam has been recognized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as one of the countries with early reopening policies after the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it has achieved certain successes, it has not yet had a breakthrough.
In recent years, the Party and State have identified tourism as a spearhead economy. Vietnam is evaluated to have many inherent advantages such as tourism resources, diverse landscapes and terrains, and a mild tropical climate.
Along with that, the unique culture of 54 ethnic groups and a long history, rich cuisine, and especially the sincere, warm, tolerant, and open-minded culture and lifestyle of Vietnamese people have made Vietnam an attractive destination that appeals to travelers.
It is not by chance that after a long Covid-19 outbreak, Vietnam reopened the tourism industry early and conveniently thanks to the attention and support of the Party, State and Government. The pandemic has changed the social structure and habits of people, but also created new trends in tourism.
With flexible and attractive policies, Vietnam tourism has made a special impression in the hearts of international tourists. That is the message of peace, reconciliation, “Vietnam – safe country”, the image of “Vietnam – a safe, friendly, and attractive destination”, a place of “infinite beauty”.
After a year, Vietnam’s tourism has achieved certain successes, especially in domestic tourism with 103 million visitors. However, the number of international visitors only reached nearly 3.7 million, falling short of expectations.
Meanwhile, Thailand opened fully in July 2022, 4 months after Vietnam, but it had welcomed 11 million international visitors last year, triple that of Vietnam. The number in Singapore was 6.3 million visitors.
This shows that the “bottlenecks” of Vietnam’s tourism have persisted for a long time. The quality and attractiveness of tourism products are still lacking. The development of the market strategy is still limited. The infrastructure, public services, and tourism information are not meeting the demand. The investment resources for tourism are still insufficient. These are perhaps the reasons for the fact that Vietnam opened tourism early, but it “moves ahead but returns slowly”.
This is also the phrase emphasized by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the national tourism conference held on March 15. The Prime Minister’s concern was reflected in a series of questions for relevant ministries, sectors, localities, and agencies.
Specifically, the Prime Minister asked: Besides objective reasons such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, what are the subjective reasons why Vietnam’s tourism opens early but returns slowly? Why is the proportion of international tourists returning to Vietnam still low? Have the solutions been correct and effective? Why do problems still exist in tourism? Have we done well in promoting and developing tourism? Or why is the information for tourists still lacking and weak, even though we have promoted the digital economy and digital transformation?
These questions need to be answered comprehensively with effective solutions. As long as these issues remain a “known problem that is hard to solve”, Vietnam tourism will only be like a “beautiful girl full of potential”.
Positioning Vietnam’s tourism is not just about being a cheap travel destination.
As world tourism recovers, we must face the fierce competition among countries and global destinations.
To solve the “bottlenecks” of Vietnam’s tourism, it requires the concentration of resources and the involvement of relevant ministries, sectors, localities, and the joint effort to build the tourism image by the people at each destination. It will be too late if at this time, the ministries and sectors cannot find a common voice to solve the problem of what needs to be done and how to change to prevent the tourism industry from continuing to go ahead but falling behind later.
Among the series of solutions and key tasks emphasized by the head of the government at the national tourism conference is the requirement to continue researching, amending, and perfecting the policies on entry-exit procedures towards increasing the number of countries exempted from visas and extending the duration of stay with reasonable fees.
Vietnam will also create conditions for domestic and international airlines to open direct routes connecting Vietnam to important and potential tourism markets.
In addition, Vietnam’s tourism must be positioned through international awards. According to the 2022 report by the World Economic Forum, Vietnam’s tourism development capacity index in 2021 ranked 52nd, an increase of 8 places compared to 2019, and was among the top 3 countries with the best improvement in the world.
At the World Travel Awards 2022, Vietnam’s tourism impressively won 16 top world awards and 48 top Asian awards.
In the past 5 years, Vietnam has been honored three times as the world’s leading heritage destination; received the title “Asia’s leading destination” four times; the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism was voted three times as Asia’s leading tourism management agency; and Vietnam won its sixth “Best Golf Destination in Asia” title at the 2022 World Golf Awards, alongside many other prestigious international awards for localities and enterprises in Vietnam.
With efforts to promote the image of Vietnam’s tourism abroad under the theme “Live fully in Vietnam”, the website vietnam.travel of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has been getting more attention in the world. According to data from the specialized website similarweb.com, in October 2022, vietnam.travel was ranked 152,000 globally, an increase of 423,000 compared to the same period.
In 2021, this ranking increase was outstanding compared to key competitors in the region such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
In 2022, the entire tourism industry has also embarked on strong digital transformation activities with the guidance and leadership of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. The smart tourism ecosystem has been formed on the basis of the core digital platforms of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Tourism promotion through the websites and social media of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has been strongly emphasized. In particular, the tourism communication program on YouTube with the theme “Vietnam: Go for love!” by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism was honored with the Second Prize at the 8th National External Information Awards, a prestigious award organized by the Central Propaganda Commission.
To quickly regain the lost time in the past 3 years of the pandemic and develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector, breakthrough solutions, bold experimentation with new models and mechanisms are needed, and one of the determining factors is the organization and implementation.
Domestic tourists are expected to reach about 102 million, with a total revenue of about 650 trillion VND. To achieve this goal, the tourism industry needs to focus on key tasks such as implementing the “Vietnam Tourism System Development Plan for 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045” after being approved by the government; implementing the Vietnam Tourism Marketing Strategy until 2030. Additionally, there are projects such as “Application of Industry 4.0 technology to develop smart tourism and promote tourism as a spearhead economic sector”, and the “Development of Vietnam Community Tourism” project after they are approved.
Furthermore, it is necessary to complete the consultation and submit to the competent authorities to regulate the functions, tasks, powers, and organizational structure of the state management agency on tourism after reorganizing the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism model.
Source: Cong ly