Although, the tourism industry in Vietnam has been gaining in popularity worldwide, and has also been bestowed with many prestigious international awards, the current difficulties caused by the ongoing pandemic has left tourism in a state of limbo.
Vietnam among top destinations
The American Magazine, Elite Daily, had ranked Vietnam as one of the ten cheapest tourist destinations in the world in 2014, at living cost of USD 20 per day. Back then, Vietnam was known only as a backpacker country, with low cost accommodation but unspoiled natural environment.
Within just five years, Vietnam became known as a top attractive tourist destination in the world, and one of the ten fastest growing countries in tourism. In the last four years, Vietnam has been receiving a number of international awards for vacation tourism, even from very prestigious organizations such as Trip Advisor and CNN Traveller. Recently, Vietnam has been recognised by World Travel Awards Asia 2020, who have highlighted Vietnam as an important and highly favored tourist destination.
Vietnam beat several contenders to receive a multitude of top awards at the World Travel Awards Asia 2020. The Resort projects invested and operated by Sun Group in Vietnam have been honoured with dozens of awards at World Travel Awards Asia 2020. Although the tourism industry has been in deep depression throughout 2020 because of a surging pandemic, the image and name of Vietnam is still among the top ranking destinations on the world tourism map. According to a survey conducted by the online travel booking platform Agoda, the fourth most searched destination for travel in the second half of 2020 was Vietnam, ranking fourth among the top ten dream destinations of 2021, along with Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan.
Difficult to maintain status quo
There are many reasons that led to such a major breakthrough for the tourism industry in Vietnam in recent years, but one of the most important is the development of outstanding luxury projects by strategic investors such as Sun Group and Vingroup, who built luxury resorts all across various locations throughout the country. These projects put Vietnam on the world stage in tourism, and helped change the entire image of the country. Now, Vietnam not only has among the most luxurious resorts in the world such as the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, but also world class cultural tourist destinations such as Sun World Fansipan Legend in Lao Cai province, culture parks such as Sun World Ba Na Hills in Da Nang, and a world class regional airport such as the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh province.
By receiving such prestigious awards, there can be no doubt that Vietnam is now well poised to becoming an important international tourist destination. The number of international visitors to Vietnam in the period 2015 to 2019 grew spectacularly, from 7.9 million to 18 million, up 2.3 times, and total revenue increased from VND 355,000 bn to VND 755,000 bn. Vietnam tourism competitiveness index has also continuously improved in the World Economic Forum rankings. In last three rankings that are taken every two years, Vietnam's tourism went up twelve places, from 75th position in 2015 to 63rd in 2019.
Mr. Phung Xuan Khanh, CEO of Tien Phong Travel, said that Vietnam has gradually got rid of the image of a cheap destination in the world, and has moved up to a welcoming destination for wealthy travellers who are willing to spend a lot on highend services. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the tourism industry to a halt globally, and under such challenging times it is absolutely necessary that the Government and all ministries as well as local authorities work together, as discussed in the recent National Conference on Tourism.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at the conference that in the current situation of the pandemic it is important not to rush to open international borders and flight routes to welcome foreign visitors, but focus on developing domestic tourism, and avoid unpredictable risks. In addition, Mr. Dam feels it is a good time to improve on facilities such as transportation, environment, food hygiene and such related safety issues.
According to Mr. Phung Quang Thang, permanent Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association, in the long term the Government should research and plan with a strategic and far sighted vision so as to ensure sustainable development in the tourism industry. However, on the other hand, Mr. Thang feels it is equally important to choose investors that have a strong capacity and abundant resources to create and build products and services that would attract even in the current market that is reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic.