When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Vietnam did not have international visitors, its major tourism source.
The tourism sector then realized the importance of domestic tourism. It is necessary to have a new look and new approach toward the domestic tourism market.
That is the opinion of Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung, who spoke at a forum on domestic tourism held on April 15 in Ninh Binh province. This was the largest tourism forum held since the beginning of the year, with the participation of 500-600 domestic travel firms and local tourism authorities.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung.
Minister Nguyen Van Hung told the forum that the tourism industry has always taken the international market as a measure of success and efficiency. When the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, causing a serious crisis for the tourism industry, it was startled to look back and realize that it had missed an important "battle" – local tourists.
Therefore, this is the time for the local tourism sector to rethink and find a new approach to developing the domestic market, he said.
"The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has released many messages, recommendations and hopes that businesses will actively turn from the international to the domestic tourism market. We determine that domestic tourism will be the driving force to re-heat the tourism market and compensate for the loss of revenue and profits of the tourism industry. More importantly, we must deeply understand the potential market of more than 100 million people of Vietnam," he said.
Therefore, at the forum, officials of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed a number of solutions for tourism businesses to discuss to promote the development of the domestic tourism market.
According to the Ministry, tourism firms need to restructure soon, have solutions to manage human resources, research the domestic market, restructure the tourist market, and design products to meet the needs and a long-term strategy must be formed to develop the domestic tourism market.
Since March, Vietnamsese tourists have flocked to local tourist sites.
At the same time, tourism associations must be based on special, distinctive and highly attractive tourism products and strengthen the promotion and building of brands and products; connect and spread the values of products to stimulate tourism needs; and associate tourism and tourism products with cultural factors.
Nguyen Anh Tuan, director of the Vietnam Institute of Tourism Research and Development, said the Covid-19 pandemic caused great damage to the tourism industry. However, this is also an opportunity for the tourism industry to recognize and reassess its development, especially with domestic tourism development.
In 2011, domestic tourists reached only 30 million, but in 2019 the number increased to 85 million (more than 2.8 times), with an average growth rate of about 15% per annum. The number of visitors increased the most in 2015, with 57 million visitors, an increase of 50% compared to 2014 and continued to maintain a high growth rate in the following years.
Therefore, in order to promote domestic tourism, Tuan noted that businesses have to solve two challenges simultaneously: Tourism manpower has been reduced due to the consequences of Covid-19 pandemic and digital transformation, and the development of smart travel and e-commerce applications. However, the ability to apply technology in the supply of tourism products (accommodation, transportation, dining and related services...) is limited.
The tourism industry of Vietnam is focusing on the local market of 80 million tourists with the expectation of impressive growth in visitors and revenue in 2021.
The tourism industry is facing post-pandemic recovery challenges, but "virtual tourism" may be a new direction to open up breakthrough opportunities.