Vietnamese airlines, in cooperation with domestic tour operators, should develop specific products and promotional activities on flights and at destinations to boost both industries.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet made the request at the conference “Aviation-Tourism Cooperation: Solutions to attract international tourists” held on April 25 in the seaside city of Nha Trang, the southern province of Khanh Hoa.
The Deputy Minister's proposal came from the forecast that in 2023 and the coming year, the tourism industry will face challenges in the context of the world economy, showing signs of recession, and risks related to finance, currency, public debt, energy security, and food, leading to a hard time ahead for Vietnam's economy.
“Through this workshop, enterprises in the aviation and tourism sectors must join hands to remove obstacles and provide solutions for the sustainable development of the two sectors in the future,” Viet stressed.
According to Ha Van Sieu, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, aviation is the key to Vietnam's tourism industry. Because air travel in Vietnam accounts for the highest proportion (more than 80% in 2019) compared to land and sea travel.
As Vietnam’s key tourism markets have not yet fully opened, he stressed that domestic tourists remain a driver of tourism recovery.
Pham Thien Trang, Director of Lux Group’s Nha Trang branch, said high airfares are one of the reasons why Vietnam's tourism is less competitive than other countries.
“Vietnam needs to offer more affordable air tickets to better attract tourists,” she said.
Nhu Thi Ngan, General Director of Hanoi Tourism Investment Joint Stock Company (Hanoi Tourism,.JSC), shared that after the pandemic, changes in the international market have made local tourism businesses think about how to approach and attract international visitors to Vietnam.
“Airlines’ promotional programs are a critical factor in stimulating tourism demand, as the pandemic impacts travel spending,” she said.
She added that in the current context, the high price of air tickets for domestic and international routes is a major disadvantage affecting Vietnam's competitiveness with other regional destinations.
To overcome this, travel companies want local airlines to consider opening new routes for tourists to diversify options and to launch charter flights for routes without commercial flights, Ngan suggested.
Sieu admitted that the increase in airfares, especially during the holiday season, has had negative implications on travel agencies’ pricing plans. He suggested supporting local airlines to open new routes to provinces and cities with airports is necessary.
He added that other focuses include the development of infrastructure and human resources, strengthening the application of science and technology in aviation-tourism development, and promoting the expansion of international flight routes to Vietnam.
Bui Minh Dang, Deputy Head of Air Transport Department under the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said that the Summer this year will see the recovery of international air traffic. There are 52 foreign airlines and five Vietnamese ones operating 143 routes connecting Vietnam with 29 countries and territories
International air traffic in the Summer will reach 2.5 to 3 million passengers per month, resulting in an 80% recovery compared to the corresponding months in 2019 before the pandemic outbreak.
“In the last months of 2023, the international aviation market will fully recover to the level of the pre-pandemic period. This year, international air traffic to Vietnam will reach about 34 million passengers, 84% compared to 2019,” he said.
He added that the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam would facilitate opening international routes of Vietnamese and foreign airlines to Vietnam. In addition, the agency will also strengthen coordination with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to promote aviation tourism cooperation and promote Vietnam as a safe, friendly, and attractive travel destination.