Tourism in Vietnam lacks flagship products to attract international visitors, experts say
Although the country has several advantages, including natural beauty, rich culture and excellent cuisine, the industry has failed to develop branded tourism products, which may pose new challenges as Vietnam reopens the inbound tourism from March 15, they add.
“We cannot fully satisfy foreign tourists yet, although we are winning big prizes in luxury tourism, owning world-class resorts and leading global hotel brands,” said Pham Ha, chairman of the group. Lux, specializing in luxury cruise services.
“For many foreign tourists, Muay Thai, golden temples, traditional dances, language and cuisine come to mind when they think of Thailand,” Ha explained.
Vietnam has dozens of heritage sites recognized by UNESCO, more than 3,000 nationally recognized relics and 5,000 provincially.
In 2019-2020, Vietnam was honored as the “world’s leading heritage destination” by the World Travel Awards (WTA).
Ha said all this is proof that the country can position its tourism brand and develop heritage-related tourism products.
“For attracting spendthrift tourists after Covid, heritage tourism is extremely appropriate because of its ability to connect with high-end resorts, golf courses and health services,” he said.
Doan Manh Phuoc, director of tourism development consultancy Outbox Consulting, said tourism managers need to invest more in brand communication.
“Each country has its own characteristics, strengths and attractions for tourists. I think Vietnam should learn from other countries to promote its tourism brand to the international community,” he said.
“To be frank, Vietnam has never had a clear and strategic tourism brand like other countries in the region have,” Phuoc said.
He said the industry should focus on promoting the country’s image on international channels such as CNN and the BBC.
In addition to branded tourism products, experts and industry insiders have also proposed that the government consider abolishing visas for nationals of more countries as countries in the region have done.
Luong Hoai Nam, a member of the Tourism Advisory Council, said the government should scrap visas for visitors from the European Union, Australia and New Zealand.
For major tourist markets like China and the United States, the government should consider long-term visas of up to 10 years to attract more visitors, he added.
Before the pandemic, Vietnam did not require visas for travelers from 24 countries, compared to 61 for Thailand, 158 for Singapore, 155 for Malaysia and 169 for Indonesia.
Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy chief executive of major tour operator Vietravel, said what the government should do urgently is resume visa policies that worked before the pandemic. This was necessary to promote inbound tourism.
Several ministries have also proposed to the government to resume the visa waiver policy that was in place before the Covid-19 pandemic, but no final decision has been taken on this, although less than a month remains. week before the full resumption of international tourism.