Vietnamese travel businesses are expanding their inbound markets, targeting high spending visitors, as they aim to welcome eight million nternational tourists this year.
|A group of Indian visitors to Ba Na Hills in Danang City. Photo: baotoquoc
India, with a population of 1.4 billion people, is identified as a potential market for Vietnam's tourism industry.
Hanoi-based PYS Travel will focus its promotional efforts on the Indian market in 2023.
In March, the company will hold reconnaissance trips across Vietnam for 80 Indian travel agencies as it plans to serve about 5,000 Indian tourists in 2023.
PYS Travel general director Tran Sy Son stressed that India is a potential market whose middle class is expected to reach 580 million people by 2030. Vietnam and India share many cultural, religious, and gastronomic similarities, which is a great advantage for Vietnamese tour operators.
Other travel companies such as Vietravel and TSTtourist agreed that the potential of the Indian tourism market is huge. Before the pandemic, Indian billionaires celebrated weddings in Vietnam's famous tourist destinations, such as the pearl island of Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang.
As one of the leading travel agencies in Hanoi, Vietravel has also focused on tapping markets in India, South Korea, Australia, Middle Eastern countries, and the US.
The company found that many travelers from those countries have chosen itineraries or searched for Vietnamese destinations, according to Vietravel Deputy General Manager Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang.
A representative of the Indian Ministry of Tourism stated that the Covid-19 virus pandemic had changed the travel habits of Indians, according to the ministry's statistics. They prefer to travel abroad for leisure, and Vietnam is one of the Southeast Asian countries that interest and gain the preference of Indian tourists thanks to its rich natural resources, cultural identity, and good services.
Vishal Yadav of the Indian Tour Operators Association acknowledged that Vietnam has a great opportunity to welcome this source of international visitors if solutions are taken to promote tourism vigorously.
"The Vietnamese tourism industry needs to step up promotional programs because many Indians still don't know much about Vietnam's attractive destinations," he suggested.
Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang stressed that the capital city's tourism industry would focus its promotional efforts on the Indian market, along with Japan, South Korea, France, some other European countries, and the US.
This plan aims to realize the goal of welcoming three million international visitors to the capital by 2023 and achieve a 28.2% yearly increase in revenue to VND7 trillion (US$3.6 billion).
|Australian visitors explore the city on a double-decker bus. Photo: Hoai Nam/ The Hanoi Times
Dean of the Faculty of Tourism Studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities Pham Hong Long said that, in the future, local businesses should take more advantage of markets with a high level of spending, such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, America, and Europe.
A representative of Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, said that although the outlook for the global economy in 2023 is forecast to be gloomier than in 2022, it still plans to resume more international routes to Europe, America, and Australia.
"Flight routes between Vietnam and Australia, Germany recorded large air traffic. We hope that in the coming period, tourism will better tap into the potential of these markets," the airline's representative added.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, international arrivals to Vietnam in January reached over 871,000, an increase of 23.2% compared to December 2022. However, the number still decreased by 42% compared to the same period in 2019.
South Korea was Vietnam's largest inbound market, with some 258,946 arrivals. The US came in second with 77,897 visitors. Thailand is Vietnam's third largest source market, with 54,985.
In 2023, Vietnam's tourism industry will actively launch promotion activities throughout the year, including participating in international events on ASEAN tourism, fairs in London (the UK), Berlin (Germany), and on major media channels.
Chairman of the Hanoi Travel Association, Phung Quang Thang, called on the Government to quickly negotiate with China for the resumption of tourism between the two countries before the summer high season.
McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm, predicted that the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad by the summer of this year is estimated at six million per month. In 2019, China had an average of about 12 million tourists traveling abroad by air every month. During the Covid years, this number dropped by 95%.
In its recent report by Goldman Sachs, Vietnam and three other countries and territories, including Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore, will benefit the most from the Chinese tourism reopening.
A survey by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed that in 2019, Chinese tourists spent an average of $1,022 for a trip, higher than those from Japan, South Korea, and other Southeast Asian countries.
With this level of spending, revenue from Chinese tourists in 2019 reached about $5.9 billion, accounting for 32% of Vietnam's total earnings from international tourists.
Before Covid-19, Chinese tourists mainly came to Vietnam through groups.