Vietnam records impressive breakthroughs in tourism development

Saturday, 2018-01-13 18:24:16
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Vietnamese tourism welcomes 12.9 million international visitors in 2017.
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NDO – Vietnam’s tourism sector has gradually affirmed its important position within the country’s socio-economic structure, with the modern and professional development of products, services and projects, as well as the spectacular growth in the number of international visitors.

Impressive growth

Despite difficulties from natural disasters, Vietnamese tourism recorded an unprecedented mark in 2017, welcoming 12.9 million international visitors, an annual increase of 30%. The sector also served 73.2 million domestic tourists and earned over VND520.9 trillion (US$23 billion), contributing approximately 7% to the general GDP.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) affirmed that if the sector maintains this growth, Vietnam will be able to catch up with the leading travel destinations in Asia, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, in the near future. The above results have contributed to improving the position of Vietnamese tourism in the international arena, with numerous international prestigious awards.

The country ranked sixth among ten destinations with the fastest development in the world for the first time. Viettravel Company was voted as the ‘World's Leading Group Tour Operator’, meanwhile the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines was named the world's leading cultural airline and InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort was honoured as the World's Leading Luxury Resort for the fourth consecutive time. The awards have contributed to shaping the image and brand of Vietnam as a leading destination in Asia.

The year 2017 also witnessed the strong growth in investment for accommodation, particularly in the luxury travel segment. 106 accommodations with three and five-star standards were recognised, increasing the total number of establishments to over 1,000 compared to the previous year. The expansion of accommodation facilities has contributed to increasing the Vietnamese tourism sector’s ability to serve visitors, as well as improving the brand of destinations.

Motivational policies

Tourism experts have affirmed that the remarkable growth of Vietnamese tourism is the result of close attention paid by the Party and State as well as the entire sector, especially the Politburo's Resolution No. 08-NQ/TW on developing tourism into a spearhead economic sector. The Law on Tourism, which was issued on June 19, 2017, created a clear but close legal corridor to enhance the effectiveness of State management on tourism, as well as creating favourable conditions for travel businesses’ operations.

The extension of visa exemptions for citizens from five Western European countries by an additional year (from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018) has contributed to luring more European visitors to Vietnam with an average increase of from 20% to 30%.

The decision to commence a trial period of issuing e-visas, from February 1, 2017, to citizens from 46 foreign countries has helped to simplify entry procedures, which was considered as a breakthrough in attracting international visitors.

Identifying challenges

In order to develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector, the tourism sector should promptly remove many difficulties and challenges. The VNAT’s General Director Nguyen Van Tuan said that Vietnamese tourism has yet to take advantage of its potential and opportunities to develop, so its competitiveness remains weaker than several other countries in the region.

Despite being improved, the country’s visa policy has been less competitive than other countries; meanwhile there are now many direct air routes connecting Vietnam with major markets.

In addition, tourism activities have revealed many inadequacies, especially the status of foreigners entering the country to illegally do travel business and take jobs as guides, affecting the business environment and worsening the destinations’ image.Vietnamese travel businesses, mainly small and medium-sized, have a weak capacity and limited financial resources, so they have been prone to be ruled by foreign partners despite earning low profits.

Vietnam’s tourism products have been poor and lack competitiveness, so they did not attract visitors to stay for long periods or to return.

Vietnam has set a target of welcoming over 15.5 million international visitors and serving 78 million domestic tourists in 2018, earning over VND620 trillion (approximately US$27.28 billion) and contributing more than 8% to the country’s GDP.

In order to achieve this heavy task, the tourism sector needs to continue maintaining the growth of both domestic and foreign tourists while ensuring stability in politics, safety, security and the environment. It is also essential to develop specific tourism products in combination with promoting them in major and high-spending markets.

Representatives from Viettravel company receive the title 'World's Leading Group Tour Operator'