VietNamNet Bridge – After experiencing a tough year 2012, Vietnamese travel firms have decided to find a new way to follow to survive the economic recession and develop.


Making every effort to look for new markets

The European and US markets--which were the best markets for Vietnam for many years, with the high number of tourists and high spending levels in Vietnam saw a sharp fall in 2012. The commercial flights from Europe and the US to Vietnam were deserted.

Meanwhile, other loyal markets like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea and Australia have become nearly saturated with the numbers of tourists increasing very slightly over the last two years.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy General Director of Hanoi Redtours said travel firms now tend to develop the new markets which have not been hurt seriously by the global economic crisis – the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and ASEAN countries.

Hoan said while Hanoi Redtours would still concentrate on developing its loyal inbound tourist markets, it would pay attention to seek other potential markets, especially the ones in South East Asia such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Also according to Hoan, ASEAN has not been the key market for Vietnam so far, but it is really a potential market. Singaporean and Indonesian are believed to have high spending levels. Besides, the short distance in geographical positions, the low travel costs and the common program on tourism promotion among ASEAN countries would also help Vietnamese travel firms access the new markets.

The Middle East, in the eyes of Luu Duc Ke, Director of Hanoitourist, is also a fertile land, which could turn into a market with great potentials for Vietnamese travel firms, if they can satisfy the demands of the rich travelers.

The tourists from the Middle East are always big businessmen, who spend big money, but always set up high requirements because of their religion characteristics. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, there have been no perfect services for the travelers from Muslim countries. Therefore, travel firms would have to make heavy investment to get ready to receive Muslim travelers.

Meanwhile, Saigontourist has affirmed that it still can develop the loyal markets well. The travel firm has stable sources of cruise travelers with the number of travelers increasing sharply year after year.

In 2012, Saigontourist served 170,000 cruise tourists, up by 40 percent over 2011. Cruise tourists are the ones with powerful financial capability who have been staying safe in the crisis.

Hoan of Hanoi Redtours said in order to attract more tourists, it is necessary to diversify tour products and services. Hanoi Redtours, like other big brands, have always been focusing on high end tours, while they do not strive to provide low cost tours.

Still awaiting support from the state

Hoan said travel firms still have been listening to the news and awaiting good information from the management agencies in order to draw up their action plans.

Travel firms nationwide have been joining forces to set up small alliances in an effort to create more competitive service packages. However, Hoan admitted the weak unity of the alliances and their low business effectiveness. Only if the State comes forward as a conductor, the affiliation would bring higher effectiveness.

Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Manh Cuong said VNAT is compiling the tourism promotion program for 2013, which plans to offer highest possible tax incentives to reduce the airfares, accommodation and restaurant service fees. Especially, travel firms may be able to enjoy the preferential electricity and water prices.

To Quoc