Vietnam looks to court well-heeled travellers

By Thu Phuong - May 10, 2019 | 08:09 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERInternational tourists are spending less in Vietnam than in other regional countries.

Vietnam looks to court well-heeled travellers
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is attracting high-spending tourists.

According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, a foreign tourist spends some $900 on average on a trip to Vietnam, which is less than the amount of $1,109 in Indonesia , or $1,105 in Singapore and $1,565 in Thailand.

While a foreign tourist spend merely $96 on average each day in Vietnam compared to $163, $132 and $325 in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, respectively.

Proceeds from international tourists in Vietnam in 2017 reached $8.3 billion, which is significantly lower than Indonesia’s $12.6 billion, Singapore’s $18.4 billion and Thailand’s $52.5 billion

International visitors to Vietnam are mainly from Asian markets such as China, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, and Laos. Meanwhile, those from Europe and America, who are often high-spending tourists, account for merely a small share of the arrivals.

Experts claim that Vietnam's weak tourism infrastructure, lack of tourism products and entertainment services are hindering the country from attracting and encouraging tourists to spend more and stay longer.

Tourists often complain that they could not find appropriate activities at the destinations they visit while in Thailand they can indulge in countless activities and services.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, general director of Hanoi Redtours, said tourism resources in Vietnam were over-exploited without any proper orientation or planning and as a result, their values are in danger of deteriorating over time.

Cao Tri Dung, chairman of Vietnam Travelmart, suggested that the tourism industry should enhance tourism-related services such as shopping, golf courses, music shows, or local cuisine tours.

In the coming time, Vietnam needs to develop tourism products that add cultural values in each destination, thus forming a network of attractive tourist destinations. Also, it is also necessary to develop high-quality products targeting high-end visitors such as handmade products at craft villages, Dung said.

Ha Van Sieu, vice chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, acknowledged the limits of Vietnam’s tourism, revealing that most of the international tourists merely come to visit and explore Vietnam for one time while the percentage of repeat travellers is still modest. 

Visitors to Vietnam usually go on sightseeing with few opportunities to go shopping or enjoy art performance.

To increase tourist spending, Sieu asked tourism-real estate developers to add experiences for tourists by diversifying offerings rather than merely building villas and condotels for sales.

Sieu stressed the need to loosening visa policies, bolstering investment in tourism infrastructure and enhancing the connection between local destinations in order to attract high-spending tourists from developed countries.