Tourism recovery on track

tourism industry expects a bonanza year ahead on global market recovery picture 1
Special gifts for first visitors to Vietnam on the first days of 2024.

Last year saw the local tourism industry welcome 12.6 million foreign visitors, exceeding the original target by 57% and reaching the adjusted target of receiving between 12 million and 13 million.

The number of domestic visitors also hit 108 million, exceeding the set target by 6%. Tourism services brought in a total of VND678 trillion in revenue, exceeding the set target by 4.3%.

The tourism industry also honourably received many reputable international awards, including 19 top global awards and 54 top awards in Asia as presented by the World Travel Awards (WTA). The country was honoured as ‘The World’s Leading Heritage Destination’ for the fourth time, and as ‘Asia's Leading Destination’ for the fifth time.

The Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) was given the title of ‘Asia’s leading Tourism Management Agency’ for the fourth time. In addition, many Vietnamese destinations and tourism businesses also received other prominent awards.

Moving into 2024, the tourism industry has set targets of receiving between 17 million and 18 million foreign visitors, as well as approximately 110 million domestic holidaymakers, to earn total revenue of VND840 trillion.

The recent New Year period saw a surge in the number of foreign visitors, with travel operators reporting that the number of foreign guests heading to major tourist destinations across the country increased by several times compared to the same period last year.

The local tourism industry is gathering steam after nearly two years of implementing post-pandemic recovery measures. 2024 is the time for the industry to accelerate and increase competitiveness with countries in the region, according to Nguyen Trung Khanh, head of the VNAT.

Opportunities lying ahead

Entering 2024, the VNAT says the global tourism industry will continue to fight off challenges from the world’s political complications and economic uncertainties, as well as the impact of climate change.

Domestically, though the economy is recovering and inflation is being well controlled, the risk of epidemics, natural disasters, storms, floods, and the impact from climate change will continue to affect production, business activities, and people’s lives.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), international tourism activities are poised to fully recover by the end of 2024, finally reaching a par with the pre-pandemic level set in 2019.

However, the level of recovery varies from one region to another. Furthermore, the needs of international tourists are constantly changing, with many demanding increasingly higher product quality, experiences, diversity, and uniqueness. The trend of applying information technology, artificial intelligence, and digital transformation will be used to promote the formation of new forms of tourism.

More work to do towards full recovery

Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman of the Board of Directors of leading Vietnamese tour operator Vietravel, points out that despite its recovery, the growth of the local tourism industry remains modest compared to other regional countries, including Thailand.

For the local tourism industry to have a better breakthrough year, he suggests there should be a comprehensive change made in awareness, methods, product promotion, and the image of Vietnamese tourism.

Meanwhile, Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, shares that currently tourism links between aviation and travel agencies and destinations are no longer as tight as previously, making Vietnamese tourism products gradually less attractive.

As a means of improving competitiveness, connections are needed to create quality products at good prices, whilst simultaneously increasing the attraction to both domestic and international customers, suggests Binh.

To fully recover, the Vietnamese tourism industry needs to remove bottlenecks occurring in policy and communication. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung has therefore asked that the VNAT make recommendations regarding perfecting institutions and policies; facilitate links with relevant ministries, agencies, and localities to develop new types of tourism products; boost tourism promotion; and focus on training human resources with high professional qualifications.

Source: VOV