What should Vietnam do to attract international tourists?
On March 15, Vietnam officially opened to international visitors with a series of relaxed regulations.
The opening is a very good sign for the tourism industry in general and for travel businesses in particular. However, insiders believe there will be no rush of tourists coming in the near future because the most important tourist markets of Vietnam have not yet reopened.
China has continued to close its doors to pursue the "Zero Covid" policy. Although Korea and Japan are not closed, they are strictly isolated for people returning from abroad. And Russian tourists have temporarily stopped coming to Khanh Hoa due to the consequences of the war.
According to businesses, opening other markets takes time and depends on the policies of host countries.
Mr. Phan Dinh Thao, General Director of HTS International Co., Ltd. said that Asian tourists with short-term trips will plan to travel about three months before their departure. European and North Americans tourist with long-term travel need at least six months to make a plan.
"Even tourists who have known about Vietnam's reopening still need a delay to prepare for their trip. It will take at least 3-4 months to have large groups of visitors from Asia to Vietnam, and for Europe, it will probably later this year," said Thao.
Mr. Bui Minh Thang, Director of Phuong Thang Trading and Service Co., Ltd., said that Khanh Hoa can welcome delegations from Singapore and Malaysia from the end of April or the beginning of May.
From April 15, it is expected that Vietnam Airlines will reopen the Singapore - Khanh Hoa air route.
“Through our discussions with partners, if there are no unusual developments, they will bring Korean tourists to Khanh Hoa from the end of May by charter flights. And Taiwanese tourists are likely to come to Vietnam in June," Thang said.
Mr. Pham Ha, Chairman of Lux Group, said that compared to Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam is "one step" behind.
According to Mr. Ha, to attract international visitors, Vietnam's tourism industry needs to promote communication about the open-door policy, including visa exemption and relaxed epidemic prevention regulations to tourists.
Major tourist centers such as Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, Phan Thiet need to shift towards diversifying international tourist sources, and avoiding being overly dependent on a few key markets as before.
“In the context that Northeast Asian and Russian markets are still facing many difficulties, the tourism industry needs to further explore ASEAN, then Korea, Japan, and China,” said Mr. Ha.
Diversify tourism products
According to experts, after three years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the psychology and tastes of tourists have changed. There has been a rise of green tourism products and tourism programs associated with health care.
“Khanh Hoa in particular and Vietnam's tourism industry in general need to target Western European and North American customers. There must be a change in tourism products to suit customers,” Mr. Ha said.
Discussing solutions to recover after reopening tourism, General Director of HTS International Co., Ltd. Phan Dinh Thao, said that in addition to planning and promoting tours and services for international visitors, promoting the domestic market is also important.
Chairman of Nha Trang - Khanh Hoa Tourism Association Hoang Van Vinh said that the prolonged epidemic has made businesses financially exhausted.
“In the initial stage of tourism recovery, the Government, ministries, agencies and localities need to support and upgrade tourism products. If possible, there may be loan packages with low interest rates for businesses to invest in and upgrade the quality of tourism services," said Vinh.