As Vietnam is home to numerous cultural and natural heritage sites, Hanoi, along with many provinces and cities across the country, has linked up and developed attractive tours and itineraries to enhance the experience and attract international tourists.
|Tour connecting heritage sites from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay attracts visitors. Photo: Thuy Edna|
Despite the scorching heat of summer, the special national landscape complex of Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong, a UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site in the northern province of Ninh Binh, has seen a huge influx of foreign tourists coming to experience and stay in the area.
Nguyen Thi Nhung, the owner of Hoang Long Riverside Homestay in Ninh Binh, said that during the Summer months, her foreign guests often book rooms through travel websites, including Booking.com, especially those from South Korea, the UK, and Germany.
Brian Tucker and his wife decided to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh to explore the heritage sites after considering several destinations.
"We love the ancient and cultural vibe of Hanoi, as well as the peaceful, clean, and nature-filled experiences in Ninh Binh," he said.
Besides the Hanoi-Ninh Binh route, tours connecting heritage sites from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay (northern province of Quang Ninh), Cat Ba (northern city of Haiphong), Dong Van Rock Plateau (northern mountain province of Ha Giang), Ban Gioc Waterfall (northern province of Cao Bang) are also attracting many domestic and foreign tourists.
Doan Ngoc Bao, the director of sales and marketing at Ambassador Cruise, said that tourists in Hanoi have many options for experiencing Ha Long Bay, including overnight, day, and night cruises. He added that the cruise tours are fully booked during the peak Summer season.
According to Phung Quang Thang, Chairman of Hanoi Travel Association, cultural and heritage tourism is still Vietnam's strength. Heritage discovery tours in Vietnam always have a unique appeal to tourists' emotions.
Nguyen Xuan Quynh, CEO of Allez Voyage travel company, believed that heritage tours are considered the key products of many travel agencies, especially in the promotion strategy for international visitors.
|The Paradise Cave in Quang Binh province. Photo: Van Phuc|
In addition to the current heritage tours, many travel agencies have developed new ones starting from Hanoi in recent years, such as the Hanoi to Quang Binh cave tour for adventurous tourists, or spiritual tourism routes starting from Thang Long Imperial Citadel (Hanoi) to Tay Yen Tu (northern Bac Giang Province). However, many of these products have been discontinued shortly after their launch.
Explaining these short-lived products, Thang said that many of them did not take into account the psychology of customers. Additionally, the connection and cooperation between destinations were not close enough, and many tours were unable to convey attractive stories to tourists.
Pham Ha, Chairman of LuxGroup, a Hanoi-based travel company specializing in the inbound segment, said the current connection between places is still localized, making many products unattractive to visitors.
Vu The Binh, the chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that the crucial factor lies in the policy of integrating local governments and tour operators, effectively managing tourism sites, and developing human resources to create captivating cultural products, particularly targeted toward international tourists.
"To make cultural and heritage tourism sustainable, those in the tourism industry need to understand and respect local culture and avoid losing local identity," he said.
According to Dang Huong Giang, Director of the Hanoi Tourism Department, the city is currently focusing on its preparatory plan to link tourism with other provinces such as Binh Dinh, Bac Giang, and Son La. She emphasized the importance of cooperation among these localities in building distinctive tourism products and urged more investment in the tourism sector.
|Hanoi is currently focusing on its preparation plan to connect tourism with other provinces. Photo: Quang Hai|
Recently, the National Assembly approved amendments to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit, and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam, which will take effect from August 15, 2023.
The National Assembly agreed to extend the validity of the e-visa from 30 to 90 days, allow multiple entries, and extend the visa-free stay from 15 to 45 days.
Hoang Nhan Chinh, Secretary of the Tourism Advisory Board of Vietnam (TAB), said: "Vietnam tourism now has a tremendous opportunity to welcome a significant influx of international visitors who are inclined to stay for extended periods."
Local insiders believe that to attract international tourists and encourage them to spend more in Vietnam, there needs to be a strategic approach and preparation for tourism businesses, focusing on developing long-term products.
This requires a stronger linkage between management agencies, localities, and travel firms.
|Hanoi is expected to receive about 22 million visitors this year, an increase of 17.6% compared to last year. Of the total number, 19 million will be domestic tourists, representing a growth rate of 10.5% compared to 2022. In addition, the city's tourism revenue is expected to reach VND77 trillion (US$3.26 billion), an annual rise of 28.2%.|