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Vietnam should prepare to welcome billionaires, celebrities: insider

Vietnam should prepare to welcome billionaires, celebrities: insider

Monday, March 11, 2024, 11:04 GMT+7
Vietnam should prepare to welcome billionaires, celebrities: insider
Former U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and late world-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain savor 'bun cha' in Hanoi during Obama's visit to Vietnam in May 2016. Photo: CNN

As more and more world-renowned billionaires and celebrities, most recently American billionaire Bill Gates, publicize their visits to Vietnam, the country’s tourism sector should prepare to take advantage of these golden opportunities, according to a local tourism firm representative.

Over the past few years, many celebrities have visited Vietnam for work or travel, and local service providers should take full advantage of these chances to improve their business.

Jack Tran Tours, a Hoi An-based travel company, has capitalized on Vietnam's popularity among A-listers by providing top-notch services to Finnish President Tarja Halonen and arranging a basket boat tour of Hoi An for her in 2008.

Tran Van Khoa, CEO of Jack Tran Tours, formerly Hoi An Eco Tour, shared that he never expected his company to become as popular as it has.

Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen (R) goes on a basket boat tour in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam in 2008. Photo: Khoa Tran / Tuoi Tre

Then-President of Finland Tarja Halonen (R) goes on a basket boat tour in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam in 2008. Photo: Khoa Tran / Tuoi Tre

Discussing how he wound up serving the former Finnish president, Khoa said that a European tourist had taken a basket boat tour and had such a good time that he promised to introduce the tour to an “important guest.”

That important guest wound up being the president of Finland!

“I was thunderstruck and extremely anxious, but when I saw the president wearing normal clothes, fishing on the river, riding a buffalo, and ploughing a rice field like ordinary guests, I felt less worried,” Khoa recalled.

Following the positive experience with Finnish President Halonen, word spread about Jack Tran Tours' excellent service, propelling the company to fame in Vietnam's tourism industry, attracting a surge of international visitors booking their tours.

Hoi An Ancient Town in the namesake city attracts many celebrities. Photo: B.D. / Tuoi Tre

Hoi An Ancient Town in the namesake city attracts many celebrities. Photo: B.D. / Tuoi Tre

Aside from Hoi An, Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam, Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh Province, and Hanoi have also welcomed their fair share of celebrities.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s dinner at a bun cha (rice noodles with grilled pork and meatballs) eatery in Hanoi in 2016 is, perhaps, one of the most well-known visits to Vietnam.

In 2017, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited Vietnam, and images from his journey leaked to the public, despite the trip being kept a secret.

Over the past few days, information about the trip to Da Nang and Quang Nam Province’s Hoi An of American billionaire Bill Gates has become hot news.

Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen’s feeling after her trip to Hoi An in 2008. Photo: Khoa Tran / Tuoi Tre

Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen’s feeling after her trip to Hoi An in 2008. Photo: Khoa Tran / Tuoi Tre

According to Jack Tran Tours CEO Khoa, the arrival of many world-leading entrepreneurs, celebrities, and politicians to Vietnam proves the position of the Southeast Asian country in the eyes of international partners.

Prominent figures prioritize safety and humanitarian concerns, presenting challenges to meet their specific requirements, Khoa emphasized.

These instances present valuable opportunities for the country, particularly its tourism sector.

Renowned celebrities wield global influence, turning their visits to Vietnam into excellent promotional opportunities.

American billionaire Bill Gates (L, 2nd) attends a wedding party in India before arriving in Vietnam on March 4, 2024.

American billionaire Bill Gates (L, 2nd) attends a wedding party in India before arriving in Vietnam on March 4, 2024.

Some countries, such as Thailand and Malaysia, have offered preferential visa policies to VIP guests.

Vietnam is currently an attractive destination, so it should absolutely deliberate on these policies, Khoa added.

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Thanh Ha - Thai Ba Dung / Tuoi Tre News

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