Foreigners have expressed strong interest in visiting Vietnam, but the number of travelers actually making a hotel or tour booking remains modest, according to travel business insiders.
Speaking at a tourism event held in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday, Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy general director of tour operator Vietravel, said that the revival of the inbound market in Vietnam has yet to reward the significant efforts that businesses have dedicated in recent time.
Currently, Vietnam has become a destination garnering global attention, according to Hoang.
However, the number of foreign visitors actually placing bookings for services in the country remains quite modest.
The primary cause behind this trend, Hoang believed, is the absence of competitive services in the tourism sector.
In addition, although visa policies have gradually been relaxed, their enforcement still poses challenges for tourists.
“Following the outbreak of the [COVID-19] pandemic, we have resumed marketing strategies for both new and traditional markets, but the outcomes have not met our expectations,” said Hoang.
“A survey revealed that our pricing factor was not a significant incentive for foreign tourists to spend money, especially when compared to other ASEAN destinations.”
The survey Hoang referred to was conducted by the online booking platform Agoda.
According to the platform’s flight booking data for the first half of 2023, Vietnam attracted significant attention from international tourists, particularly from countries such as Thailand, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore.
Vietnam’s Da Nang, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City occupied the top three spots on the list of international destinations preferred by Thai tourists.
Additionally, the coastal city of Da Nang is the desired choice among South Korean tourists.
Among Australian tourists, Vietnam is also gaining prominence only second to Bali in Indonesia.
However, the increase in actual bookings has failed to match this ranking.
Doan Thi Thanh Tra, director of marketing and communications at travel firm Saigontourist, acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant shifts in the preferences and behaviors of inbound tourists.
This transformation is characterized by an increase in the demand for 4-star and 5-star services.
European and American tourists continue to represent the primary customer demographics.
Simultaneously, Tra’s company has directed efforts toward exploring emerging markets, with a specific focus on attracting generous customers, such as those from the Philippines and Malaysia.