Indian tourists may replace visitors from traditional markets of Vietnam in the coming time, but the Southeast Asian country needs to pour more investments into infrastructure and services in order to attract this market.
A seminar on promoting tourism in the Middle Eastern and Indian tourist markets was organized within the framework of Ho Chi Minh City International Tourism Expo (ITE) 2022 on Friday.
Approximately 169,000 Indian visitors came to Vietnam in 2019, of whom 73 percent stayed in Ho Chi Minh City, Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said at the event.
In the first seven months of 2022, about 11,700 Indian tourists visited Vietnam.
Between July 15 and 18, Ho Chi Minh City welcomed 460 MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tourists from India, the largest Indian MICE travel group that Vietnam has ever received.
During the remaining months of this year, more than 60 flights connecting Vietnam and India will be operated every week by airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Indigo, Hieu elaborated.
“It is not easy to serve Indian visitors as they are quite careful in choosing products and services,” the official noted.
“If failing to adapt, tourism businesses won’t be able to exploit this market in the long run.”
The tourism sector in Ho Chi Minh City is determined to invest more in infrastructure to serve tourists from India, as they have specific needs related to religious beliefs, according to Hieu.
The city has a number of restaurants and hotels with essential services for Indian tourists and Muslim guests, but they are still small in scale and lack professionalism.
Local accommodation establishments should consider making long-term investment in infrastructure, including restaurants serving Indian and Halal cuisine.
In addition, hotels and airports need to arrange prayer rooms to attract tourists from this market, the tourism official added.
Naresh Chhatola, CEO of Global Journey Holidays India, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Vietnam is a new destination in Southeast Asia that is attracting the attention of Indian tourists, and that his company is planning more tours to Vietnam instead of Thailand or Singapore.
Vietnam is home to not only beautiful and diverse landscapes but also bustling shopping centers, Chhatola continued, adding that it is easy to find Indian restaurants, which is the most important thing in planning trips for Indian tourists.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 20 million Indian tourists traveled abroad each year, whose spending was considered to be the world's top, according to Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City.
Indian travelers tend to seek new cultural, culinary, and shopping experiences.
There has also been a trend of organizing weddings, honeymoon trips, and birthday parties abroad, the consul general said, suggesting that Vietnam further promote such tourism products in the coming time.
Indian visitors chose Vietnam because the country is a safe and new destination with many cultural heritage sites, green spaces, and interesting tours.
Vietnam has many unique tourism products, attractive eco-tourism, friendly people, and good transportation, Sethi stated.