Impressive post-pandemic growth
According to Nguyen Trung Khanh, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), given the slow tourism recovery worldwide last year, domestic agencies took a series of measures which subsequently proved effective in contributing to the country’s overall development after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 15 last year, tourism activities have resumed, and the sector has so far recorded encouraging results toward its targets.
Last year, about 3.66 million foreigners visited Vietnam, exceeding the yearly target by over 70%. The number of domestic travelers stood at 101.3 million, much higher than the 85 million arrivals posted in 2019, the year before the pandemic. As a result, the sector earned approximately 496 trillion VND (nearly 21 billion USD), down 34% from 2019.
The spectacular growth of the domestic market was a silver lining of the cloud, affirming its role in the development of the industry given difficulties facing international travel on a global scale.
With its tourism reopening, among the earliest in the region, Vietnam is rated by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as one of the countries boasting the most open-door policy in the world.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 report, the development capacity index of Vietnam’s tourism in 2021 ranked 52nd, up eight places compared to 2019, making the nation one of the three with the best growth in the world.
At the World Travel Awards 2022, Vietnam won 16 award categories in the world and 48 in Asia.
In the last five years, the country was honored as the world’s leading heritage destination three times, Asia’s leading destination four times, and Asia’s best golf tourism destination sixth time.
Immediately after its resumption of tourism activities, the Southeast Asian nation focused on promoting a communication programme, themed “Live fully in Vietnam”, to attract international visitors.
When Vietnam hosted the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), the industry took advantage of the opportunity to strongly promote the image of a safe, friendly, and attractive destination to sports delegations and international tourists.
Expectations of breakthrough developments
Apart from such a “spectacular” comeback after being heavily affected by the pandemic, the industry still faces a number of difficulties and challenges.
World tourism is recovering but has yet to return to the level of 2019. Domestic tourism continues to grow but it is expected to slow in the coming months. In addition, many of Vietnam’s main tourist markets have not fully opened so far.
The sector has set a goal to host 110 million tourists this year, including 8 million foreigners, for 650 trillion VND.
It will focus on key tasks of announcing the planning of Vietnam’s tourism for 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045 after it is approved; as well as implementing the Vietnam tourism marketing strategy to 2030 and pending projects on developing smart and community-based tourism.
It also plans participation in a slew of international tourism promotion events such as the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2023 in Indonesia, the ITB Berlin tourism trade fair in Germany, and the World Travel Market London in the UK. Vietnam’s tourism will continue to be advertised on CNN and a number of other major international communication channels; and be introduced to its key markets like ASEAN, Northeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America via Vietnamese agencies, localities, and businesses. Meanwhile, with over 200 special events to be held, the Visit Vietnam Year 2023, themed “Binh Thuan – Green Convergence”, is a highlight of the year and a chance for the south-central province and other localities nationwide to promote tourism recovery and development.