|Bai Sau (Back Beach), or Thuy Van Beach, is one of several beautiful beaches in Vung Tau city, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. (Photo: vietnam.vnanet.vn)
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the beaches in central Vietnam were packed with Chinese and Korean tourists, who often arrived in groups of 40 to 50 people. 70% of international visitors to Vietnam were from Northeast Asia, 32% from China. Nha Trang and Vung Tau were favorite destinations of Russians.
But when the pandemic broke out, travel restrictions shut down the tourism industry. To get visitors to return now, Vietnam is having to improve its tourism services and products, increase promotions, and diversify its markets.
Michelle Dupont, a French tourist, says Vietnam has a lot of beautiful scenery and delicious food, but French people lack information about Vietnam’s current tourism situation.
“When I came to Vietnam, I learned that Vietnam really opened up for tourism as soon as the pandemic was under control. There is no longer any mandatory COVID-19 testing, although other Asian countries still require testing. This should be publicized to prospective visitors. In France in particular we don’t see many advertisements showing beautiful Vietnamese scenery that might persuade tourists to come to Vietnam,” said Dupont.
Pham Ha, Chairman of the Lux Group, underscored the need to analyze the market and the preferences of visitors from each region and promote Vietnam to new high-end markets like Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe,
Ha underscored the need for Vietnam’s tourism sector to reconsider which market segment should be prioritized – average, popular, or high-end tourists – and manage popular destinations like Da Lat and Phu Quoc to avoid overcrowding."
Vietnamese airlines and travel agencies have sought to expand new markets like India and Malaysia by increasing the number and frequency of direct flights.
International air routes and cruises are almost back to their pre-COVID level. Travel agencies have been promoting outbound tourism by participating in international fairs, signing cooperation agreements to exchange customer and market development information, and selecting key products for 2023, the year of tourism recovery.
|Foreign tourists come to Vietnam during Christmas and New Year holiday this year. (Photo: tuoitrethudo.com.vn)
These efforts have brought some good results. During the Christmas and New Year holiday, Hanoi and HCMC welcomed a large number of tourists.
Hoang Nhan Chinh, chief of the Tourism Advisory Board’s Secretariat, said Vietnam is neglecting a high-end market segment – elderly travelers who want a long vacation and have high spending potential.
To attract them, Chinh says, Vietnam should extend the visa exemption duration, develop added-value services like healthcare, shopping, and cuisine at one resort, and increase connections between localities.
“We need to change our mindset about doing tourism. Tourism is a spearhead economic sector, so it’s important to think about economic efficiency and higher revenues. We recommend focusing on those markets with higher demand, longer visits, and greater spending," said Chinh.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and travel agencies have proposed specific policies to attract international visitors, including granting e-visas, simplifying e-visa procedures, and improving online apps. Promotions should be carried out throughout the year.
Vietnam will participate in tourism events in Southeast Asia and travel fairs in London and in Berlin, and promote its tourism on CNN and other major media channels.