VNAT under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism organised a conference last weekend to discuss ways to attract more international tourists despite signs of a slowdown during the first seven months of the year.

According to Vice Chairman of VNAT Ha Van Sieu, international tourists coming \increased dramatically, from 7.9 million in 2015 to 15.5 million in 2018 (+195%), representing an average growth rate of 25% per year.

Vietnam’s tourism industry is used to high growth rates that are more than quadruple the World Tourism Organisation global average growth rate of 5.8% per year and 6.1% for the Asia and the Pacific region.

During the first seven months, the country had to get by with 9.8 million international tourist arrivals, an increase of 7.9% over the same period last year. Not a trend that makes tourism officials happy.

During the seven months of 2018, the growth rate was 25.4% compared to 2017.

Vietnam is struggling with the same problem facing Thailand. The Chinese tourist market is declining due to a soft economy, and this is reflected in declines in tourists visiting Thailand, the US, Australia and many other destinations worldwide.

Speaking at the conference, Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien said tourist hubs such as Ha Noi, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa would need to find solutions to increase international tourists.

“They will need to enhance tourism promotions, maintain the number of international visitors from the Chinese, Korean and Japanese markets as well as other European markets,” he warned.

The vice-chairman of Danang City People’s Committee Le Trung Chinh said the city is “developing environmental friendly tourism, green tourism and sustainable growth.” Other leading officials pointed to the need to maintain flexible visa policies eVisas and online payments.”

At the close of the conference, VNAT chairman, Nguyen Trung Khanh, highlighted the importance of airlines expanding air routes to Europe, the US and India.

“Opening direct flights connecting Vietnam with Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia; expanding routes to some secondary cities in China, Japan, and South Korea; signing new cooperation with partners in Australian, Indian, European and American markets are important developments.”

He also recommended that the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) should open Vietnam tourism promotion offices in the UK and Australia.

VNAT emphasised core priorities to encourage stronger growth.

Takeaways

Local state management bodies should cooperate with airlines, shopping. malls, entertainment areas, hotels and tour operators to promote tourism. Focus on developing new products and implement joint promotions. Airlines continue to open new routes to key markets. Improve destination reputation and service quality, ensure environmental protection.

TTR Weekly with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism - September 3, 2019