The peak summer tourist season is coming to an end, but the flow of international visitors still has many bottlenecks to develop again. It also means that accommodation systems and destinations are still facing many difficulties.
In the framework of the program “Linking the strength of Vietnam’s tourism in 2022” held on August 8, businesses said that the target of 5 million international visitors would be very difficult if the bottlenecks in visa, infrastructure, human resources are not fully resolved.
Ms. Cao Tuyet Lan, director of travel business Viettours, said that although Vietnam has declared to be fully open, it is extremely difficult for international visitors to enter.
“Not to mention foreign customers, even business partners when making visas is also extremely difficult. We have to register for an order number on the Immigration Department and wait a week to submit the application. It is a business customer with a clear position. How difficult will it be for ordinary visitors, what type of visitors will come to Vietnam? The peak season at the end of the year is for international visitors, if they don’t quickly solve the problems. This “bottleneck” will not be able to have a high number of visitors,” said Ms. Lan.
Noting that the revenue structure of 18 million international tourists to Vietnam in 2019 is still large compared to the revenue of 85 million domestic tourists, Mr. Phung Quang Thang, director of Hanoitourist Travel Company, emphasized the international market needs to be properly recognized to have timely solutions.
According to Mr. Vo Anh Tai – deputy director of Saigontourist Group, with the current small number of international tourists, it is difficult to assess that tourism has recovered. Because normally 80% of the room capacity at the accommodation establishments under the Saigontourist system depends on international guests.
Must change the way of promotion
In that context, tourism infrastructure in many places has not really recovered, and promotion activities are sluggish, making businesses extremely worried.
Mr. Vo Anh Tai suggested that localities need to have plans to develop products, conferences and seminars not only on tourism but also need more programs and events on diplomacy, culture and sports… in order to create favorable conditions for Vietnam to receive groups of tourists (MICE tourism) of the main markets.
Cao Tri Dung, chairman of the Danang Tourism Association, said that with the current difficulties, the target of 2 million international visitors in 2022 is also a challenge, not to mention the goal of 5 million. Visa is the headache story of tourism in the Central region. But at this time, Vietnamese tourism must build digital platforms on large databases, use public platforms to directly reach users, change the way of promotion.
“Besides traditional promotion activities such as organizing roadshows, participating in international fairs… it is necessary to promote promotion through digital transformation channels. International visitors are criticizing Bali for being old, but they cannot find a destination. Many tourism products in Vietnam are doing very well, but how can this information reach tourists?”, asked Mr. Dung.
Untie visa knots
Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, confirmed that in the first 7 months of the year, the whole country received 733,400 international visitors, reaching nearly 15% of the target of 5 million visitors. In addition to the objective reason that the first months of the year are not the peak of Vietnam’s tourism, according to Mr. Khanh, epidemic prevention policies of different countries still exist in the efforts to renew products of enterprises, the shortage of personnel…
However, Mr. Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said bluntly: Although Vietnam has declared its opening, in reality many parts have not been like that. International visitors have not yet been given favorable conditions to enter Vietnam. Therefore, in the coming time, the association will continue to propose to extend the visa exemption period to 30 days, even 60 days, instead of 15 days at present.
“Restoring and developing international tourism in Vietnam is not only an urgent requirement of more than 40,000 businesses and over 2 million tourism workers, but also an urgent requirement of millions of people and tens of thousands of tourists. Service establishments rely on the tourism industry,” said Mr. Binh.
Dialogue with businesses, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said that international visitors have not reached the desired level, but at this time there have been 2 remarkable statistics. According to the statistics of the General Statistics Office, the number of international visitors reached 950,000, a tenfold increase in 2021. The tourism industry’s detailed measurements show that the number of international visitors increased by 15%.
Despite the desire to open up, Vietnam’s tourism is still dependent on the policies and the opening of countries. Currently, the armed conflicts between Russia and Ukraine have affected one of the large, familiar markets. The Japanese and Korean markets also focus on disease prevention.