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Int’l tourists come to Vietnam in droves

Int’l tourists come to Vietnam in droves

Monday, November 07, 2022, 16:23 GMT+7
Int’l tourists come to Vietnam in droves
Foreign tourists return to Da Nang City, Vietnam in October 2022 on the first cruise ship arriving in the city after the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

In addition to tourists from Vietnam’s traditional source markets, travelers from new markets, such as India, Central Asia, South America, and North Europe, have flocked to Vietnam, sending the number of foreign visitors to the Southeast Asian country surging in the last months of the year.

After the summer travel season, the number of tourists is stable, mainly enterprises’ guest delegations and foreign travelers.

To promote its tourism in key markets in the region and the world as a whole after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism sector took part in the ITB Asia 2022, a leading travel trade show in Asia held in Singapore from October 19 to 21.

Accessing new source markets

Nguyen Ngoc Toan, CEO of Images Travel & Events Company, which specializes in inbound tours, said the company welcomed nearly 200 tourists from Uruguay early this month. 

The group included students majoring in architecture who visited Ho Chi Minh City to learn about historical and cultural works.

This month, French delegations with 20-40 guests each will also visit the city as part of their trans-Vietnam tours.

The number of independent tourists and those booking tours online also soars and dominates the market. That is why a large number of international travelers are seen on the streets in Ho Chi Minh City these days, Toan added.

“The tourism market is busier day by day and international tourists have changed their tourism habits," he remarked. 

“Instead of drawing up plans six months to a year before their trips, foreign visitors now travel right after booking tours due to their concern over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Therefore, the market will be more bustling in the coming time.”

According to the Ho Chi Minh Department of Tourism, the city welcomed more than 546,000 international arrivals in October alone, taking the total number of foreign visitors to the city in the January-October period to over 2.65 million, surging 100 percent year on year and meeting 75.9 percent of the target.

Hong, a trader at Ben Thanh Market in District 1, said more delegations of foreign tourists are seen in front of the market.

“Tourists are mainly those from other Asian countries, such as Indonesia, South Korea, and India. The number of travelers from Europe and America is smaller," Hong said.

"They take tours in smaller groups.

“They buy souvenirs, clothes, and fabrics but rarely enjoy dine-in food services."

New tourism products needed

According to travel companies, they will focus on two key tasks -- penetrating deep into markets and arranging tours for international tourists -- in the last months of the year.

They will focus on services and the recovery of destinations to determine their main source markets so that the outbound segment will not fully recover until mid-2023.

To welcome back international travelers, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism built a plan to develop tourism products in association with the night-time economy in the city, said Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the department.

It also consulted relevant departments and agencies on the plan to assess night-time tourism products and services.

The department will study and propose some tours including night-time tourism products in line with the city’s conditions and tourists’ demand.

“Relevant units have been working with tourism experts and enterprises to develop, survey, and assess destinations. The job is expected to be completed this month,” Hoa noted.

The growth in the number of international visitors can help enterprises maintain their operation and have revenue to prepare for next year, said Nguyen Ngoc Toan from Images Travel & Events Company. They have yet to be able to generate profits, Toan noted.

In early November, many international travelers come to Sunset Sanato Phu Quoc, a well-known resort on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam, to bathe in the sea and take photos of sunset. Photo: C.Cong / Tuoi Tre

In early November 2022, many international travelers come to Sunset Sanato Phu Quoc, a well-known resort on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam, to bathe in the sea and take photos of sunset. Photo: C.Cong / Tuoi Tre

International visitors to Ho Chi Minh City still face many obstacles, such as high airfares, a small number of flights, and unfriendly visa policies.

While attending the IFTM (International and French Travel Market) Top Resa, a large trade show for tourism professionals held in Paris, France in September, many foreign partners told Toan that they have no information about Vietnam’s tourism. 

Many of them were concerned over the service quality in Vietnamese destinations after the pandemic. Vietnam’s tourism promotion remains ineffective, Toan added.

Inbound tourism in Da Nang recovers quickly

With the reopening of air routes and the launch of new ones to South Korea, Taiwan, India, and Southeast Asian destinations, Da Nang has achieved the continuing recovery of the international tourism segment.

Moreover, the return of cruise ships to Da Nang since October is expected to bring more foreign visitors to the central city in the last months of the year.

Cao Tri Dung, chairman of the Da Nang Tourism Association, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the international tourism segment in Da Nang had shown the strongest recovery in the country. 

After the reopening at the end of October, the number of Taiwanese visitors coming to Vietnam has increased quickly.

Markets which reopened to tourism earlier, including South Korea, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, have also reported optimistic growth. 

Of them, South Korea has taken the lead among the source markets of Da Nang with ten flights per day. The figure is forecast to exceed 20 flights a day during the Lunar New Year, or Tet, holiday.

With the current recovery pace, the number of international tourists coming to Da Nang in 2023 is predicted to equal 80 percent of the pre-pandemic level, which is higher than the estimate last year.

Phu Quoc crowded with foreigners

A large number of foreign tourists are seen taking a stroll and enjoying food and entertainment services in areas from Tran Hung Dao Street to Phu Quoc night market in Duong Dong Ward, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province. 

Foreign visitors also cycle and enjoy the fresh atmosphere on the roads from Ham Ninh to Bai Thom Communes.

Bui Quoc Thai, director of the Kien Giang Department of Tourism, said that in addition to domestic visitors, foreign guests visiting Phu Quoc are on the rise. 

Besides travelers from Thailand, India, and the U.S., Phu Quoc welcomed 180 Uzbekistan visitors on November 1, proving that the international tourism segment has recovered.

According to Huynh Quang Hung, chairman of the People’s Committee of Phu Quoc City, together with flights to Thailand, India, and Uzbekistan, air routes connecting Phu Quoc International Airport with South Korea, China, and Europe will be launched from November to the end of this year to facilitate the travel of foreign visitors to Phu Quoc. 

“The number of foreign tourists visiting Phu Quoc this year is estimated at three million and will increase by 20-25 percent in the coming years,” Hung added.

Vietnam welcomed 2.36 million foreign tourists in January-October, a 19-fold increase over the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

South Korea was Vietnam’s largest source market in the period with nearly 130,200 arrivals, followed by the U.S. with some 41,600 arrivals.

In October alone, 484,400 foreign travelers came to Vietnam, up 12.1 percent month on month and soaring 46 times year on year.

These are the results of the country’s full reopening of tourism and international air routes over the past 10 months.

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Thanh Ha - Nhu Binh / Tuoi Tre News

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