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Last updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Elevating Vietnam Tourism Position in ASEAN: Good Strategy Needed

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2017

With its human potential and tourism potential, Vietnam is becoming a favourite destination for domestic and international visitors. However, its tourism position in relation to other ASEAN countries is still low. Solving this issue will need a good strategy.

Vietnam is a country of UNESCO heritages, with two natural heritages (Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park), five cultural heritages (Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi, Citadel of Ho Dynasty, Complex of Hue Monuments, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary), one mixed heritage (Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex), and many intangible cultural heritages and documentary heritages.

With the tremendous efforts of the tourism industry, the number of international and domestic tourists is on the rise. Vietnam’s tourism growth ranked second in the region in the 2011 - 2016 period. In 2016 alone, it topped the region in tourism growth. But, in general, Vietnam tourism position is still low relative to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), in 2016, Vietnam ranked fifth in ASEAN in international tourists with more than 10 million arrivals, equal to only 31 per cent of Thailand, 37 per cent of Malaysia, 61 per cent of Singapore and 83 per cent of Indonesia.
The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017 stated that Vietnam's greatest strengths are cultural resources and public services (ranked No. 30), natural resources (34), price competitiveness (35), and human and labour market (37). However, it had many low-ranked indicators such as environmental sustainability (129), tourism infrastructure quality (113), government spending on tourism 114) and visa requirement (116), the lowest in the ASEAN region.

In order to upgrade Vietnam's tourism rankings in the international arena, tourism authorities need to come up with a strategic strategy.

To achieve the target growth of 30 per cent in 2017, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed a number of solutions to bring tourism into a spearhead economic sector to the Government. Right now, it is taking advantage of APEC 2017 to promote tourism in the country and overseas. After the tourism promotion fund is established, it will immediately launch a VND30-billion package for tourism promotion. Particularly, Vietnam will continue to waive visa for citizens from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. It will consider expanding the list of countries subject to electronic passport granting.

On the other hand, Mr Pham Tien Dung, Director of Goldentour & Convention, said, it is necessary to upgrade the quality of infrastructure and services, especially public infrastructure such as transport systems, public toilets, vending machines and international banking systems.

In addition, Vietnam needs to improve tourism product quality and diversity. At present, it does not have many locally characteristic tourist products while we have many cottage industry villages. The Vietnamese tourism sector must have a good tourism product development plan to create innovative products imbued with local identity and increase tour guides.

The workshop on "Improving Vietnam Tourism Image Quality” underlined the importance of communication and promotion of images of Vietnamese country and people to international friends. Vietnam must take advantage of internet development to reach visitors, for example, creating tourism applications, providing online consultancies and exempting visas for citizens from more countries.

In addition to attracting international tourists, it is essential to further tap the domestic market, launch more promotion programme and cultural events, arts performances and festivals to stimulate and expand the domestic market, and expand amusement parks, places of interest for weekend tours or during public holidays or summer holidays.

Tourism is considered a highly profitable service sector and tourism development will lead to economic development. Therefore, in order to lift its tourism to a new high and position in the region, Vietnam needs not only a good strategy but also the engagement of authorities, organisations, businesses and people.

Giang Tu

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