Indonesia’s authorities are taking measures to lure visitors from Vietnam, targeting to have arrivals from its Southeast Asian neighbor jump some 30 percent to 100,000 in 2019, Indonesian officials announced at a sales mission event in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.
Co-organized by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and the Indonesian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, the event was attended by 16 tourism businesses from destinations in Indonesia as well as 30 tour operators from Vietnam.
It sought to increase networking and business contacts between Indonesian sellers and Vietnamese buyers, which are expected to help boost sales of Indonesia-bound tour packages in Vietnam.
Indonesia recorded 75,632 tourist arrivals from Vietnam in 2018, less than one percent of Vietnam’s total outbound tourists that year, according to statistics from the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism.
The country has set eyes on bringing this number up by at least 32 percent this year to top 100,000 Vietnamese tourists, Indonesian officials said at Friday’s event.
|The Borobudur Temple, a famous Buddhist landmark in Central Java, Indonesia. Photo: Indonesian Ministry of Tourism|
Nearly ten million Vietnamese traveled abroad on tours in 2018 as the number of outbound tourists from the country is growing at a yearly rate of 15-20 percent, according to Vu The Binh, vice president of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA).
Vietnamese prefer short trips over long ones when choosing tour packages, making destinations such as Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Singapore popular among outbound tourists, according to a study by American financial services company Visa Inc.
This leaves a huge untapped potential market for Indonesia to promote its destinations, the Indonesian tourism ministry said in a statement.
Though Vietnam and Indonesia are both members of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) making traveling between the countries easy and hassle-free, Vietnamese tourists are still alien to the idea of visiting its neighbor for leisure as they are unclear what the country has to offer in terms of tourism, a representative from Vietravel, a major Vietnamese tour operator, told Tuoi Tre News.
"For roughly the same costs, Vietnamese tourists would rather visit Taiwan than Indonesia," she said, adding that her company currently only operates chartered tours to Indonesia instead of regular ones.
Thailand and Cambodia, which are also ASEAN member states, welcomed around 800,000 and one million tourists from Vietnam in 2016, respectively, according to VITA statistics.
|Dancers perform a tradition dance in Bali, Indonesia. Photo: Indonesian Ministry of Tourism|
A new direct flight route between Ho Chi Minh City and Denpasar, the capital city of Bali, is one of the important steps to achieve the 100,000-Vietnamese-arrival goal.
The service is initiated by the Indonesian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet, with the support of the Indonesian tourism ministry.
The inaugural flight is planned to take off in the first week of June 2019 with ticket sales starting in the third week of March this year.
Another Indonesian sales mission event will be held in Hanoi on Monday.
These activities are held back to back with the 2019 Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) that will take place in Hanoi from March 27-30.
Fifteen Indonesian sellers, including travel agents, tour operators and hotels, and the Government Tourism Office of Yogyakarta will participate in the travel mart to showcase what Indonesia has to offer Vietnamese tourists.
Vietnamese citizens enjoy visa-free entry into Indonesia.