Nguyễn Trùng Khánh, general director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism
Tourism will become a necessity for many people around the world after a long period of limited travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts. Therefore, the industry that suffered a huge impact from the pandemic could be one of the fastest to rebound.
This means Việt Nam will have opportunities to increase market shares in the world tourism market.
Nguyễn Trùng Khánh, general director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, speaks to the Vietnam News Agency about this issue.
How will the tourism market change when COVID-19 is controlled?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made tourists pay more attention to health and safety, hygiene, travel insurance and avoiding crowds and changed their needs.
Tourists have a higher demand for luxury accommodations with isolated spaces, near travel and shorter vacations. They also have more flexible travel plans.
Instead of giving priority to price, customers will pay attention to safety and choose high-quality travel products. Demand for marine and natural tourism products will increase rapidly. Customers have made direct online bookings on websites of tour operators.
Besides that, 70 per cent of tourists choose to travel in small groups.
The tourism market is expected to shift from focusing on international tours to promoting domestic tours. Therefore, tourism service companies need to have enough quality accommodation facilities with reasonable price for meeting the demand that is increasing. However, growth is still slow at present.
Besides that, they need to grasp customer demand, strengthen digital transformation and improve competitive ability, creating a new face for the tourism industry and resuming the local service economy.
In 2019, Việt Nam’s tourism industry gained revenue of VNĐ421 trillion (US$18.1 billion) from foreign visitors, higher than the revenue of VNĐ334 trillion from domestic visitors. The domestic tourism market will struggle to recover without foreign tourists. What solutions does the tourism industry have to increase foreign tourism after the pandemic is controlled?
Việt Nam’s tourism industry had two-digit growth in 2019. However, from the beginning of this year, COVID-19 caused an unprecedented decline in foreign visitors after the Government had strict measures to prevent the pandemic, such as travel restrictions and temporary entry suspension for foreigners.
In the first eight months of this year, the number of international visitors to Việt Nam decreased by 67.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
The recovery of Vietnamese tourism will have to depend on when COVID-19 is controlled in the world. To gradually restore international tourism activities after the pandemic, the domestic tourism industry needs to promote communication on the situation of COVID-19 control in Việt Nam. That confirms Việt Nam continues to be a safe and reliable tourism destination in the region. Tourism destinations are reopened to serve domestic tourists and have safe conditions to welcome foreign tourists.
The industry should deploy applications on smartphones to help tourists quickly access up-to-date information relating to COVID-19 such as areas with patients and quarantine areas.
It should also promote digital marketing activities, such as the implementation of the campaign 'Explore Vietnam at home Today, Visit Someday' including media activities via social networks, video clip and photo contests, and online entertainment activities relating to Vietnamese culture.
It needs to organise webinars to update new trends in tourism consumption, potential market segments and tourism products, and expected recovery scenarios in some key tourism markets of Việt Nam.
A new set of tourism promotion publications should be built according to market demand.
The COVID-19 pandemic is considered an opportunity to restructure the domestic tourism industry. Where should the industry start?
The pandemic is a good opportunity for the industry to restructure from advertising promotion, target markets and development of suitable products to development of stimulus packages and co-operation to related service companies such as airlines and suppliers of goods and services for tourists.
The application of technology to the development of the tourism industry is also a preeminent solution. As one of the service industries very vulnerable due to external factors, the tourism industry needs to quickly implement digital transformation and smart management to overcome existing difficulties and develop further. Digital technology also helps businesses know trends in customer needs.
In addition, tourism businesses need to quickly grasp the trend of the market to restructure and design tourism products focusing on luxury resort tourism, eco-tourism, health tourism and adventure travel.
They should improve the quality of products and services allowing customers to stay longer and spend more. This is the most important goal in the long-term tourism development strategy. — VNS