Favourable environment for tourism development

Wednesday, 2018-01-03 04:32:51
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Vietnamese tourism saw strong growth in the number of international visitors in 2017. (Credit: dantri.com.vn)
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NDO – Seeking measures to address policy constraints and implement the relevant policies will help Vietnamese tourism to develop sustainably and gradually become a spearhead economic sector.

In 2017, Vietnamese tourism saw strong growth in the number of international visitors thanks to many policies and mechanisms creating favourable condition for them, including visa exemption for citizens from several countries, e-visa applications, and the enhancement of tourism promotion at international events and through social media channels.

However, in general, Vietnam still focused on increasing the number of tourists without paying much attention to high-spending customers as well as interdisciplinary solutions and policies to increase spending for visitors. Management capacity and the building of specialised tourism products for destinations did not meet the diverse demands of visitors. The investment for tourism promotion at the national level has been ineffective with only around US$2 million spent, while many other countries in the region have allocated around US$50 million to US$100 million.

In addition, the implementation of policies has not been flexible or in accordance with reality. Specifically, the visa policy for international visitors to Vietnam is still less competitive than other countries in the region as the visa exemption has been applied for citizens from only 23 countries and for just 15 days (less than the average stay time of international arrivals to Vietnam). The list of countries that are offered entry visa exemption has been published annually and from one to three months before the time of implementation, which makes it difficult for travel businesses to make plan for promoting and welcoming visitors from these markets.

The regulation which states that the next entry without a visa must be at least 30 days after the previous exit also causes difficulties for international visitors who join tours linking neighbouring countries. For example, with the Vietnam - Laos – Cambodia tour, after visiting Vietnam’s Northern provinces and then moving to Laos and Cambodia, visitors have not been able to return to the southern provinces of Vietnam within 30 days.

With the inadequate tourism environment, Vietnamese tourism ranked at an average level in terms of its competitiveness. Many international visitors have been disturbed by the unprofessional business sense in destinations. The situation of inviting visitors with insistence, begging, theft, a lack of food hygiene safety, littering and unsafe traffic continues to occur. Several administrative procedures and the enforcement of policies and laws have not been consistent at the public authorities, causing difficulties for enterprises.

Regarding the development of policies to create a favourable environment for tourism development, most experts and tourism workers suggested that ministries and agencies should make adjustments on visas, particularly the regulations on the length of stay and the distance between the entries to extend the stay for international visitors to Vietnam. Information on visa exemptions should be announced soon and applied steadily over a certain period of time, creating conditions for travel businesses to build strategies and plans to welcome visitors.

The management index of the destinations’ quality should be based on the management practices of the business units and visitors’ comments instead of administrative imposition from state management agencies on tourism and should be announced periodically. It is crucial to pay great attention to effectively promoting the investment for tourism promotion at national level as well as enhance the application of information and technology in management.

In order to create favourable conditions for international visitors, Vietnam should continue to implement the issuance of e-visas for citizens from more countries, creating a breakthrough in visa issuance thanks to the simple and rapid procedures. In addition, enterprises, tourism and aviation associations should strengthen the coordination in communicating e-visa issuance to major markets. Notably, travel businesses should also focus on improving the quality of their services and competitiveness to attract more tourists.

With efforts and synchronous solutions in building and implementing polices, Vietnamese tourism is expected to record high growth in the number of international arrivals to Vietnam, earning larger revenue from tourism and maintain the sustainable development.