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‘Sleepless city’ in southern Vietnam set to attract visitors

Monday, April 19, 2021, 09:35 GMT+7
‘Sleepless city’ in southern Vietnam set to attract visitors
A bird’s-eye view of Phu Quoc United Center on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

‘Sleepless cities’ around the world such as Sentosa in Singapore, Ibiza in Spain, and Las Vegas in the U.S. have long been world-famous destinations as night-time entertainment is a prerequisite for any economy to attract tourists, according to experts.

Night-time entertainment activities involve different but harmonious experiences, from culture to cuisine, amusements and artistic performances, all of which have brought tens of billions of U.S. dollars to the aforementioned destinations.

New impetus for tourism revival

The number of visitors to tourism destinations across Vietnam has increased significantly over the past few days, with hotspots like Phu Quoc Island, Da Nang City, and some northern localities recording accommodation services’ room occupancy at 80-90 percent on weekends. 

Tour operators anticipated that the high occupancy rate would linger through the peak travel season of summer, especially the upcoming holidays of Hung Kings’ Festival, Reunification Day (April 30), and International Workers’ Day (May 1).

The family of Trang Thu, who just arrived in Phu Quoc from Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday morning, was picked up from the airport to their hotel, where they had breakfast before starting their visit to Vinpearl Safari, a semi-wildlife park, to the excitement of her six-year-old son.

All of their itinerary, along with three meals a day, had been included in the holiday package that Thu had paid for in advance.

In this way, the whole family was able to comfortably enjoy their journey without having to wonder what and where to eat during the day or which places to visit.

Safe holiday packages like the one that Thu’s family chose have become popular among family holidaymakers and groups of friends recently, according to Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy director of marketing at Vietnam's top tourism company Vietravel.

The packages consisting of air tickets, hotel stays, and meals have been in demand lately. 

The destinations of these packages are places with leisure activities, resorts, shopping and entertainment complexes such as Phu Quoc and northern Quang Ninh Province.

“Now is the golden time for tourism companies to prepare for welcoming the return of tourists,” Khanh said.

Meanwhile, Doan Thi Thanh Tra, a representative of Ho Chi Minh City-based travel firm Saigontourist, assessed that the demand for self-organizing tours to have private trips of groups of tourists and families would also be quite high this summer.

To meet this demand, Saigontourist has provided travel services such as car rental, air ticket sales, luxury hotel or resort booking at preferential prices, as well as organizing tour programs at the destination that customers choose.

On this type of tour, visitors go to their desired destination on their own and book a tour designed by the tour operator to last within the day, with the company of a fluent local guide.

Classy art shows at Grand World

Countries such as Japan, South Korea, and the UK have been very successful in developing closed tourism complexes which offer shopping, dining, entertainment, and cultural experiences, excellent arts, and casino activities, according to experts.

According to Vietnamese art performance director Viet Tu, who was responsible for the production of art shows at Grand World, a new project at the Phu Quoc United Center super complex, entertainment plays an important role in the economic model of 24/7 business and entertainment areas. 

Tu said in the past, when he started his trip to ‘sleepless cities’ like Las Vegas, he always wondered what fun to enjoy and which places to visit there.

“Visitors always expect new entertainment experiences, not only that, they also want to easily get access to reputable brands with methodical organization and high-quality service,” Tu said. 

Therefore, when designing art shows for Grand World, he always pays the most attention to entertainment factors besides cultural and artistic elements.

Women pose for a selfie at Phu Quoc United Center in Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Two women pose for a selfie at Phu Quoc United Center on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Tool for tourist spending increase

Dr. Nguyen Minh Phong, an economist, believed that such amusement and entertainment complexes could attract not only young people but also many other types of tourists, including both middle-aged and old people.

“Such interesting destinations will benefit not merely businesses but also local people and the economy,” said Dr. Phong.

According to experts, the establishment of entertainment, amusement, and resort complexes shows that Vietnam’s tourism is transitioning to a higher stage of development.

After the model of Phu Quoc United Center, Vietnam is forecast to have more similar international tourism products in other regions, which will contribute to both the tourist industry and the Vietnamese economy.

According to the night-time tourism product development project of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the night-time tourism sector is assigned to increase the average tourist spending by five to six percent, the proportion of tourist spending on night-time tourism products by 30 percent, and the percentage of tourist additional spending by five to six percent by 2025.

In addition, the night-time tourism product must also be attractive enough to elevate the average tourist stay by 0.5 days.

According to a representative of VNAT, overnight tourists spend an average of US$1,074 per pax during the average trip length of 8.1 days, equivalent to an average spending of $132.6 a day, while day visitors spend an average of $99.86 per pax

The VNAT representative said that prolonging the tourist stay was one of the national tourism industry’s priority goals, while the ‘sleepless’ amusement and entertainment complexes are the keys to achieving that goal.

Growing demand

In Vietnam, as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control, accommodation establishments located in closed amusement and entertainment complexes are reported to have made faster recovery compared to other independent hotel systems.

According to a representative of Phu Quoc United Center, the proportion of customers using accommodation services in the hotel system, along with its food services and entrance tickets to its attractions, is growing.

“Groups of family travelers often choose travel packages at the complexes over their convenience and services that meet the needs of different ages,” the representative said.

 Phu Quoc -- suitable place for piloting ‘vaccine passport’ scheme

Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism made a proposal to pilot the reception of international visitors to Hoi An City in central Quang Nam Province starting July, subject to a closed process.

Accordingly, the reopening of international tourism activities will follow a road map, in which the pilot phase will last from July to September 2021, with a focus on beach relaxation and golf tourism products for visitors from South Korea.

The ministry had conducted a survey, in which it found out that the area south of Hoi An and Chu Lai Airport in Quang Nam can be transformed to meet the conditions of transport infrastructure, health, tourism service establishments, management requirements, and safe spaces for the residential community to try welcoming international tourists.

Following the tourism ministry’s proposal, during a seminar on ‘vaccine passports’ recently held on Phu Quoc, Nguyen The Lam, chairman of the Phu Quoc Tourism Development and Investment Association, said that the island is also a suitable place to lure international tourists with ‘vaccine passports,’ thanks to its isolated geographic location, a sparse population, many resorts, and closed entertainment complexes.

Lam added that such a multi-billion dollar super-complex as Phu Quoc United Center not only helps Phu Quoc satisfy the different needs of tourists in a vacation, but also improves the competitiveness of the island in the international tourist arena.

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